School libraries under threat: How to ensure survival?

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School libraries under threat: How to ensure survival?

  1. 1. School libraries under threat: How to ensure survival? LIB 600 Libraries and Education 2014
  2. 2. 2 Storms ahead!  The economy is stormy, and principals and superintendents are looking for ways to save money.  That threatens school libraries and school librarians, and they are often among the first to succumb to the storms.
  3. 3. 3 What Could be the Result?
  4. 4. Formula: School library position minimum: 0.02 FTE = 20% or 1/5 position Kentucky is no exception! 4
  5. 5. Another Kentucky example! 5
  6. 6. 6 Other states • As with other public-school districts, Mesa Public Schools are not required to have a certified media specialist operate their libraries and have cut the positions because of financial problems. Read more: http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/local/articles/2008/ 09/02/20080902librarians0902.html#ixzz2XNtgdNEF 6
  7. 7. 7
  8. 8. 8
  9. 9. 9 Philadelphia 2013 http://www.slj.com/2013/06/budgets-funding/philadelphia-begins-laying-off-school- librarians/
  10. 10. 10 http://4lakidsnews.blogspot.com/2008/01/ chicago-school-librarians-wont-go.html
  11. 11. 11 Imagine a newly modernized school with a built-in library/media center — but no books to put on the shelves. Actually, you don’t have to imagine. Read about what’s going on with libraries in D.C. public schools (DCPS) in this open letter to Mayor Vincent Gray from D.C. resident and school library advocate Peter MacPherson. He’s been fighting a move by DCPS to cut funding for dozens of school librarian positions. Read MacPherson’s letter at http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer- sheet/wp/2012/10/09/school-libraries-without-books/
  12. 12. http://www.ksba.org/protected/ArticleView.aspx?iid=6G2BPU0&dasi=3UBI
  13. 13. 13 Succes story: From cuts . . . 13 http://ala- apa.org/newsletter/2008/03/15/campaigns- spreading-to-reverse-downturn-in-spokane- wa-library-financing/
  14. 14. 14 . . . to capers • Spokane Moms campaign is grass-roots success story • Spokane Public Schools is restoring some of the funding cut from elementary libraries last year, thanks largely to the lobbying efforts of three women who have become heroes among librarians nationwide. • “They call us the Spokane Moms, which I think is so funny,” said Lisa Layera Brunkan. • June 25, 2008 - Updated: June 30, 4:10 p.m.
  15. 15. 15 How did they do it?
  16. 16. 16 An emulation attempt that fizzled 16 Nancy Sullivan, a media specialist at James Madison High School in Portland, OR, and a founding member of Fund Our Future Oregon.
  17. 17. 17 What needs to be done?
  18. 18. 18 Research evidence
  19. 19. *This was in 2008—several more states have since added their studies 19
  20. 20. 20 http://www.lrs.org/data-tools/school- libraries/impact-studies/
  21. 21. 21
  22. 22. 22 School Librarians Must Build Support before the crisis happens! • Step 1 - Know Your Stakeholders – Students, Parents, Teachers, Administrators, Community Members, Legislators • Step 2 - Alignment – Align your goals with those of the stakeholders – Use the latest research you can find • Step 3 - Program Promotion – Build promotional efforts around stakeholder needs • Step 4 – Evaluation and Evidence – Collect and analyze relevant data about programs, resources and services – Measure what is important to stakeholders • Step 5 - Share Findings – Organize and utilize the data that shows contributions to educational goals School Library Program Health and Wellness Toolkit
  23. 23. 23 Crisis Planning when the unthinkable looms • Define the situation • Know your mission • Determine a communication structure • Identify the stakeholders • Craft the message • Share the message • Get people involved • Ask for letters of support AASL Crisis Toolkit
  24. 24. 24 What is the problem? Among others:
  25. 25. 25 We Need a Little Insurance! • Protection –But what? http://murraylib600.org/InfluenceResearch.pdf
  26. 26. 26 We need to present EVIDENCE! http://murraylib600.org/EvidenceBasedManifesto.pdf
  27. 27. 27 What does AASL say? • Empowering Learners (2009) – GUIDELINE: The school library media program is built by professionals who model leadership and best practice in the school community • ACTION: The school library media specialist . . . uses research to inform practice and makes evidence-based decisions
  28. 28. 28
  29. 29. 29 Grand research evidence?
  30. 30. 30 Not really enough! 30
  31. 31. 31 What kind of evidence, then?
  32. 32. 32 Organized evidence about your own school library • Action research – Action research is any systematic inquiry conducted by teacher researchers, principals, school counselors, or other stakeholders in the teaching/learning environment to gather information about how their particular schools operate, how they teach, and how well their students learn. • (An excerpt from Geoffrey Mills book Action Research) reproduced as part of Unit 1: What is and why use action research on
  33. 33. 33 Sounds intimidating? • It’s really quite simple!
  34. 34. 34 1. Identify the problem From Action Research Powerpoint - Presented at November 7, 2005 Delsea Regional High School In-service. (no longer available)
  35. 35. 35 What makes a good problem statement? • State it as a question that should
  36. 36. 36 Sample questions? • How can the library promote reading, writing and listening skills with English- language learners? – “Ipods and English-Language Learners: A Great Combination.” Teacher Librarian 34, no. 5 (2007). • Does collaboration with the school librarian make a difference for the senior research paper?
  37. 37. 37 2. Collect data • What data? –How are we going to measure what we’re looking for? • What does “make a difference” mean? –Operationalize! See Operationalizing Variables • “Difference” suggests a comparison » Compare what? » Final products? » Compare research papers of two high school classes— one where the librarian was involved, and one where the classroom teacher worked alone? » Or interview the students about their experience?
  38. 38. 38 3. Interpret data
  39. 39. 39 4. Act on evidence
  40. 40. 40 5. Evaluate results
  41. 41. 41 6. What’s next?
  42. 42. 42 Then, just as important! • Tell ‘em about it!
  43. 43. 43 Present and share! • Ross Todd:
  44. 44. 44 Example of action research • Improving research paper assignments: – English teachers and the school librarian collaborate to gather data in a qualitative action research study that investigates the effectiveness of an assignment that requires primary research methods and an essay of two thousand words. • Gordon, Carol. Students As Authentic Researchers: A New Prescription for the High School Research Assignment School Library Media Research vol. 2, 1999
  45. 45. 45 Goals of action research • Making things better! – Ghaye, T. (1997). Some Reflections on the Nature of Educational Action Research. School Libraries Worldwide, 3(2), 1-10.
  46. 46. 46 A New ALA/AASL Initiative http://www.aasl.ala.org/aaslblog/?p=3660
  47. 47. 47
  48. 48. Collaboration for Success!

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