Changing times :
school librarians and information specialists co-operating at
international level to promote role of the school library and
information centre in education in digital Europe
The future of (school) libraries
• An old Norwegian fairy tale (The three Billy Goats Gruff -
De tre bukkene Bruse) to illustrate different points of view :
What is happening in other library
How are other libraries addressing
Example: The ShanachieTour : A Library Road Trip around the world –
Erik Boekesteijn, Jaap van de Geer and Geert van den Boogaard.
(from the DOC, Public Library, Delft, the Netherlands.
Asking questions in different countries throughout the world :
interviews and films (at their own expense) – available via Internet.
How my own study in “changing times” began
How my school addressed these “changing times”
Development of the Kalsbeek Information Literacy Matrix
(KILM) – began in 1997 - (at the initiative of a member of the school
leadership, Dr. Jaco Schouwenaar):
• Original objectives were to combine three factors:
– Educational reforms, introduction of new literacies (incl. : information, digital and media
– New theories and concepts of learning (incl.: theories of multiple intelligences (M.I.),
learning to Learn, individual (independent or learner-based learning, co-operative or collaborative
learning, competency-based learning, inguiry-based learning, guided inquiry, E-learning.
– The introduction of ICT throughout the school as an educational tool .
• The ultimate goal was to maintain or increase the quality of education
throughout the school in “changing times”.
How my own study began (cont.)
European (international) study
• Question asked by founders of ENSIL (European Network for School
Libraries and Information Literacy) in 2003.
• At the beginning of the study, I had to decide, as a researcher, exactly
what we are looking for and what we want to find out.
Dutch national study in 2005 (described in earlier presentations and
reports by Boekhorst, Van Veen and Boelens.
We are all librarians. We love stories! The following story helps to
describe the problem.
An old story from the
to illustrate European
(international) research goals
Objectives of the study
• What are we looking for?
• What does this study want to find out?
• How are we going to do that (at International
The KILM which has been implemented at the
Kalsbeek College, using the school library as the
heart of the learning environment, has lead to
an increase in educational quality throughout
Would it be possible to use the KILM (or a
similar sub-matrix) in other schools throughout
If the school library impacts educational
quality and academic achievement, how
can these factors be described and
measured at international level?
Important factors about this
study which need to be
The diversity of school librarianship – it has many different faces (Coatney, 2010)
It is a European (international) study.
A positive study makes it possible to present research to the international community
(EU, and other international organisations). Good for school library advocacy.
It requires co-operation from different disciplines: education and LIS (library and
information science) – cross-discipline.
It also requires co-operation from those who are interested in the introduction of ICT
as an educational tool into schools.
It has both educational and political implications.
Which factors in both disciplines
(education and LIS) were addressed in the
study at the Kalsbeek College?
• Educational reform;
• The introduction of ICT as an educational tool into schools).
• The use of ICT in schools for managerial and administrative objectives was not
• The importance of traditional forms of learning;
• Changes in teaching and learning;
• The use of new theories of learning;
• New learning environments;
• The new or altered role of the school library and information centre;
• Changes in job roles; training.
Review of the literature carried out in Dutch and English at
European, national and local level:
An overview of the subject areas addressed during the review of the literature, relevant to this study.
Information Ages The educational vision and expectations when
Historical context ICT was introduced into schools in the 1990’s The historical objectives of school
Role of libraries libraries and their educational objectives.
and school libraries The importance of traditional forms of learning
Effect on educational
quality and academic
Changes in society since the beginning of Changes in teaching and learning
The new or altered role of school The present day functions of the school
the contemporary information age
libraries and information centres library and the school information specialist.
Social context New forms of learning
A new job role for the school How these staff members can influence
information specialist educational quality, learning outcomes and
New learning environments
The actual changes which have taken place academic achievement.
within the school since the introduction of
ICT into schools New job roles
The review of the literature was carried out in Dutch and English at European, national and local level
Decisions which needed to
be made before the research
Which countries should take part in this study?
• Members of the European Union and/or members of
the Council of Europe;
• Countries which were formerly part of the U.S.S.R.;
• Different language communities of Belgium;
• Separate countries within the U.K.
A total of 61 countries.
List of countries which have been included
in this study (61 countries):
Albania Greece Poland
Andorra Hungary Portugal
Armenia Iceland Romania
Austria Rep. of Ireland Russian Federation
Azerbaijan Italy San Marino
Belarus Kazakhstan Serbia
Belgium (3 communities) Kosovo Slovakia
Bosnia & Herzegovina Kyrgyzstan Slovenia
Bulgaria Latvia Spain
Croatia Liechtenstein Sweden
Cyprus Lithuania Switzerland
Czech Rep. Luxembourg Tajikistan
Denmark Rep. of Macedonia Turkey
Estonia Malta Turkmenistan
Finland Moldova Ukraine
France Monaco United Kingdom (incl. England,
Rep. of Georgia Montenegro Northern Ireland, Scotland and
Germany Netherlands Wales)
Definition of terms – the study must make
comparisons at international level:
International definitions are needed for:
a school library;
a school librarian;
educational quality and academic achievement.
What is the importance of language in this
In the 61 countries which will be studied, 52
national and/or official languages are
spoken and used.
Ease of communication at international
Accuracy of translations of concepts and
List of official or national languages which have been taken
into account in this study (52 languages).
Abkhazian French Norwegian
Albanian Frisian Polish
Armenian Galician Portuguese
Azerbaijani Georgian Romanian
Azeri German Romansh
Basque Greek Russian
Belarusian Hungarian Serbian
Bosnian Icelandic Serbo-Croatian
Bulgarian Irish Slovak
Catalan Italian Slovenian
Croatian Kazakh Spanish (Castilian)
Czech Kyrgyz Swedish
Danish Latvian Tajik
Dutch, (Netherlands), Flemish Lithuanian Turkish
English Luxembourgish Turkmen
Estonian Macedonian Ukrainian
Finnish Maltese Uzbek
“Invisible” or “Silent” school libraries :
IFLA/FAIFE World Report 2007.
School libraries in countries which were part of the former U.S.S.R,
School libraries which came under communist influence after World
How can these school libraries be described: facilities, etc.
compared with other countries in this survey? When were they set
Do they comply with the IFLA School Library Manifesto?
Demonstrates how important some politicians believe these
libraries to be – used to improve educational quality and also
for filtered knowledge and political indoctrination.
Countries in former USSR and/or under Communist influence
after World War 2:
Number of school libraries reported to the IFLA/FAIFE World Report 2007.
Albania : 1700 school libraries Latvia : 1099 school libraries
Armenia : 1353 school libraries Lithuania : 1312 school libraries
Azerbaijan : No information received Rep. of Macedonia : No information received
Belarus : No information received Moldova : 1433 school libraries
Bosnia & Herzegovina : 204 school libraries Poland : 15200 school libraries
Bulgaria (2 figures received: 1465 or 2599 school Romania : No information received
libraries Russia : 66000 school libraries
Croatia : 1264 school libraries Serbia : 1700 school libraries
Czech Rep. : 4151 school libraries Slovakia : 5483 school libraries
Estonia : 451 school libraries Slovenia : 648 school libraries
Rep. of Georgia : No information received Tajikistan : No information received
Germany (former DDR) : See country report Germany Turkmenistan : No information received
Hungary : 4347 school libraries Ukraine : 20600 school libraries
Kazakhstan : 6852 school libraries Uzbekistan : No information received.
Kyrgyzstan : 2133 school libraries
A total of approx. 140,000 school libraries.
Some of the other international surveys and studies
which were discussed in this study:
Doctoral thesis – Dr. Laurel Anne Clyde (1981)
Singh school library survey (1993);
Libecon millennium (library) study (2000) – included school libraries;
UNESCO pilot (library) study (2008) – did not include school libraries.
Also the IFLA/FAIFE World Report (2007)
Various educational studies (described in detail in the dissertation included):
e.g. Eurydice database, Korte and Husing (2006), PIRLS testing (2007), PISA,
European Schoolnet, European Commission, Eurydice, UNESCO, UNICEF, World
Question: Who supplied data to these studies? How accurate was it?
How was information for this European study
Difficulties in collecting data, confirmed by other international surveys;
Accuracy of qualitative and quantitative data – had reliable national surveys been held? Who
supplied the information? Political implications; Hearsay; Opinions;
4 ENSIL surveys;
From both traditional and digital information resources: Books, reports, surveys etc.;
Interviews (traditional and via Internet);
Using Web 2.0 communication
Which data was collected in the
Population, GNI per capita;
Education at primary and secondary school level (expenditure on education,
adult literacy, school enrolment ratios, training of teachers, compulsory
education and gross enrolment rates)
Ranking in international tests (e.g. PISA and PIRLS) related to educational
Introduction of ICT into schools (including school library);
ICT policy in schools;
Media, information and new literacy policies;
Libraries, incl. school libraries and information centres;
General background information;
Specific information about school libraries and information centres.
The original research document (Boelens,
• a total of approximately 191,000 school
libraries which were reported in the 61
countries in this study (most information collected in
• these school libraries serve more than 115
million pupils and their teachers
What happened during this research
Important preliminary steps have been taken to
improve and accentuate the importance of co-
operation between various stakeholders in
education and librarianship.
The use of digital technology plays a role in this.
Every second the WWW is expanding and
changing. It provides facilities, including important
communication facilities which make this kind of
qualitative research possible.
The European school librarianship web.
Andorra Finland Rep. Of Germany
Belgium (3 Cyprus
Armenia Rep .
Bosnia & Azerbaijan
Belarus Herzegovina Croatia
Greece Hungary Denmark Norway
Austria Rep. Of
Liechtenstein Core of the web of Romania
(England - information for school
Northern librarians and information Netherlands
The greatest problem in
this communication is
Answers to research questions at
What is the present state of school libraries at European level? What is
Since many of the countries in this survey do not use a specific
definition for what a school library actually is, there is no specific way
in which this question can be answered. This study has revealed a
great diversity in ‘school libraries’. Some are of excellent quality and
are run by trained personnel. Others are merely a box of books in a
school cupboard. The mission of the school library has not been
clearly defined in many countries.
Answers to research questions at
What are the goals of the school library in digital Europe?
The School Library Manifesto (IFLA/UNESCO 1999) and the School
Library Guidelines (IFLA/UNESCO 2002) define these goals for the
countries which are members of these organizations. Clear national
definitions (per country) of what the ‘school library’ actually is, and
how it can be described within the present day educational process,
were difficult to locate.
The documents mentioned above may need updating.
Answers to research questions at
What is the role of school libraries and the library staff within the
school since the introduction of educational reforms, ICT and new
forms of learning into schools?
This role varies from country to country. In countries which fall into
the middle or low income bracket, emphasis is placed on the
importance of the school library, however its role is often concerned
with literacy goals and the distribution of books and textbooks. In
some countries with a high GNI per capita, the school library and the
library staff play an important role in:
1. the implementation of literacy goals,
2. the implementation of ICT as an educational tool, and
3. the introduction of new forms of learning in an interdisciplinary way throughout
Answers to research questions at
Would it be possible to introduce the sub-matrix known as the KILM
into these school libraries?
This would be primarily dependent upon:
– political support at national level;
– the educational vision and leadership qualities of the school directors;
– the quality of the library staff;
– co-operation with other members of the teaching staff (lead by the school leadership);
– availability of continuous training for school leaders, teachers and library staff and
– the facilities which are available within the school and in the school library.
Answers to research questions at
What facilities would be needed for a successful implementation?
These facilities may vary – the ability of the school library staff to
adjust to different facilities is the most important factor.
Answers to research questions at European level:
A. What are the critical success factors.
B. Are there other factors which are important in order to implement the KILM
throughout the school?
– Co-operation at international level between two disciplines (education and
LIS) and also with those who are interested in the introduction of ICT into
schools (as an educational tool);
– An understanding of current critical theory for library and information
science (Leckie 2010) and the need to cross-discipline exploration;
– A clear understanding of the issues at political, governmental and school
leadership level. These are described in the dissertation.
– An understanding of the many faces of school librarianship
– Clear definitions.
– The co-operation between different members of the school staff.
Answers to research questions at
What changes in educational quality, learning outcomes and
educational achievement could be expected?
An increase in educational quality, learning outcomes and academic
achievement can be expected.
1. The quality of education, at European level is limited, per country, by various socio-economic and
cultural factors such as poverty, wars and disasters, politics, educational policy and the quality of
the education system, investment in education, the academic quality of the teaching staff, the
facilities which the school provides and the attitudes of the school community, including pupils and
2. The quality of the school library is only partially dependent upon the facilities or the amount of ICT
hardware or software which it has at its disposal. These facilities need to be in balance with the
educational objectives of the school (Kennisnet, 2006). These factors are co-ordinated by the
3. Countries which have made large investments in education and also in ICT hardware and software
have not necessarily shown an increase in educational quality and academic achievement.
4. School libraries are special libraries which play an important role in two different processes – the
educational process and the library process. Co-operation between these two processes is
essential if school libraries are to be effective. School libraries no longer play a dependent role in
education and librarianship (Clyde, 1981).
5. Since the introduction of ICT within the school, the trained school librarian plays an even more
important and essential additional role - that of a school information specialist.
6. Some tertiary level LIS and educational institutions (throughout the world) are considering and implementing
changes in their curriculum in order to prepare school librarians (school information specialists) for their new
7. The national school library law in each country is very important. It provides clear definitions of a “school
library” and also describes the work of the school librarian; it provides “status” for the school library and
reduces confusion which may result in inaccurate data being forwarded to national or international surveys.
8. Accurate, quality data on school libraries needs to be collected at national level, on a worldwide basis.
9. Some countries within Europe do not have a school library tradition.
10. All libraries (at all levels) should support each other’s work. There should not be a competition for status or
funding. Also there is a need for better cross-discipline communication. Co-operation between the library
process and the educational process is essential.
Other important factors, which have been
studied in earlier research, were confirmed:
Under certain specific circumstances and when there is co-operation within the school
community, school libraries enhance educational quality and academic achievement.
The school librarian is qualified as both a teacher and a librarian. This person teaches/
instructs pupils and teachers throughout the school, and has similar status to other teachers.
The training and re-training of school librarians is imperative and must occur frequently, in
order to keep abreast of new ICT trends. The research shows that this essential training at
tertiary level no longer takes place in a number of countries, for various reasons.
School leaders and other teachers sometimes do not understand the work which the school
librarian carries out. They do not realise or exploit the many advantages of co-operation with
the school librarian.
What must we do for the survival of
• Communicate as widely as possible with colleagues
throughout the world.
• Support each other at local, national and international level.
• Provide Information to others. Information has been provided
by national and international organizations for this
• Facilitate translations of important international school library
documents into national and official languages.
My thanks to people from many different countries and cultures, and who spoke
many different languages, who joined together with me to make this survey of
school libraries possible.
They have tried to tell the international community what school libraries in their
own countries are like.
Information was provided in an atmosphere of trust and co-operation. The
researcher is very grateful for this support but is also aware of the ethical
responsibility to present this information in a fair, responsible and impartial way.
Thanks to all my virtual friends and colleagues for their co-operation.