School Library Research Update

I’m back to Boston after a productive but busy few days in Seattle for the ALA Midwinter Meeting, and I have more than a few items of news and note to share with you!

First, I’ll share with you one of the last events  I attended (on Sunday afternoon, January 27), one that left a lasting impression: the School Library Research Update, where three different, but related research projects about school libraries were presented and discussed.  This AASL session included two state-level studies (PA and NJ) and the newest results of School Libraries Count, and all three projects have useful online resources to study and share.

Mary Kay Biagini (University of Pittsburgh) presented the Pennsylvania School Library Project (which I’ve written about in this space previously), a comprehensive report on the status of school library services in the state.  Dr. Biagini introduced two booklets on the study, and the .pdf versions are available online:

Creating 21st Century Learners: A Report on Pennsylvania’s Public School Libraries

How Do School Libraries Help Students? What School Library Advocates Need to Know

Next, Carol Gordon (Rutgers University) and Amy Rominiecki (Seneca High School, NJ) presented findings on the New Jersey School Library Study.  These research reports, as well as the position paper, Reading between the Lines: School Libraries and the Common Core Standards, are all available on the CISSL (Center for International Scholarship in School Libraries) website.

Finally, Jody Howard (Palmer School of Library and Information Science) and Sue Kimmel (Old Dominion University) presented the latest findings from the longitudinal survey, School Libraries Count, including responses about 2012′s topical issue question on filtering, which inspired some energetic conversation in the room.  Dr. Kimmel noted that the research data is available for use in further academic study.

I’m continuing to dive into this research and think about how the findings shape the path for school library studies in other states and provide research data to share with colleagues and school administrators, perhaps with some interpretation and discussion to make sense of it all.  I’m thinking, too, about how these studies illuminate what school libraries and librarians do today, what they need to support student learning tomorrow, and what has changed from “yesterday.”  More on this and more from Seattle to come . . .

–Rebecca Morris

Image: Seattle, by runner310 on Flickr. Used with a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 License.


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