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SCHOOL LIBRARIES AND LEARNING: A RESEARCH JOURNEY Dr Ross J Todd Director, Center for International Scholarship in School Libraries School of Communication & Information – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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  • Dr Ross J Todd
  • Director, Center for International Scholarship in
    School Libraries
  • School of Communication Information
  • Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

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  • Undertaking research about learning in
    information age schools
  • Disseminating research to the scholarly and
    professional communities throughout the world
  • Fostering the development and continuous
    improvement of learning-centered professional
    practice that is underpinned by high quality
  • 4 faculty members ( Dr Kuhlthau)
  • 5 doctoral students
  • I part time Director of Prof Development
  • Self-funding creates challenges re
  • basic and applied research

  • Understand how students learn through school
  • Understand learner attributes and patterns of
    information seeking and use in schools.
  • Understand the use of information for learning,
    the process of inquiry, and building
    understanding of a topic. Information-to-knowl
    edge Journey
  • Understand how learning is effectively
    implemented through school libraries and
    demonstrated through evidenced based practice.
  • Understand how learning outcomes can be measured
    and documented through the school library.
  • Kuhlthau ISP as central framework

With the school library literally the heart of
the educational program, the students of the
school have their best chance to become capable
and enthusiastic readers, informed about the
world around them, and alive to the limitless
possibilities of tomorrow. Mary Gaver, 1958
Gaver, M. Every child needs a school library.
Chicago, ALA, 1958 Gaver, M. Effectiveness of
Centralized Library Service in Elementary
Schools. Rutgers University, 1963
Foundational Research
  • Keith Curry Lance 12 State Studies
    Correlational Studies
  • In schools with well stocked, well-equipped
    school libraries, managed by qualified and
    motivated professional school librarians working
    with support staff, one can expect
  • Standardized scores tend to be 10 to 20 higher
    than in schools without this investment
  • Development of capable and avid readers
  • Learners who have a range of information
    scaffolds to interrogate multiple, diverse and
    conflicting sources of information into deep
  • Teachers who are partnering with school
    librarians to create high-quality learning
    experiences based on curriculum standards
  • Explicit links between availability of resources,
    technology, information literacy instruction and
    student achievement .

Research Studies 2003
  • Student learning through School Libraries
  • - Ohio
  • - Delaware
  • - Australia
  • - New Jersey
  • School Library Infrastructure Analyses
    Continuous Improvement
  • - Delaware
  • - NJ (in progress)
  • School Culture Dynamics
  • - Collaboration
  • - Principals Support

Student learning through School Libraries
  • Identify how students benefit from school
    libraries though exploring the help construct
  • Provide statewide data on best practices in
    school libraries
  • Improve teaching and learning in information age
  • Encourage continuous improvement in school
    library services
  • Promote dialog among parent communities, school
    boards, administrators, school librarians, and
    teachers on the value of effective school

Conceptualization of help
  • Assumption that libraries contribute to social
  • Help refers to both the institutional involvement
    through advice and assistance in the information
    experiences of people (helps-as-inputs) and the
    effect of this involvement on the people it
    serves (helps-as-outcomes/impacts).
  • This study has been informed by four streams of
  • - Information Search Process (Kuhlthau)
  • - Information Intents (Todd)
  • - Outcomes Measurement (Fisher Durrance)
  • - Information Literacy Standards (AASL).
  • Context value / infrastructure / personnel

Outcomes of the Austin Public Library Wired for
Youth Project (Fisher Durrance)
3 Studies Student Learning Through School
  • Ohio 13,123 valid student responses and 879
    teacher responses (39 schools) (2003-4)
  • Australia 6,718 valid student responses and 525
    teacher responses (46 schools) (Lyn Hay, 2004-6)
  • Delaware 5,733 valid student responses and 408
    teacher responses (13 schools) (2005-7)
  • many local replications / variations
  • Tool of Evidence-Based Practice

Getting The Data
  • 2 InstrumentsImpacts on Learning Survey
  • Perceptions of Learning Impacts (Faculty)
  • helps measure of 48-50 statements of learning
  • Critical Incident response to capture voice of
  • Evidence-based response to capture voice of
    faculty how they know the library helps

7 Sets of help
  • how helpful the school library is with getting
    information you need
  • how helpful the school library is with using the
    information to complete your school work
    Information Literacy skills)
  • How helpful the school library is with your
    school work in general (knowledge building,
    knowledge outcomes)
  • How helpful the school library is with using
    computers in the library, at school, and at home
  • How helpful the school library is to you with
    your general reading interests
  • How helpful the school library is to you when you
    are not at school (independent learning)
  • General school aspects Academic Achievement

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Critical Incident
  • Now, remember one time when the school library
    really helped you. Write about the help that you
    got, and what you were able to do because of it
  • To validate witness quantitative data to
    elucidate helps not identified in the
    statements to provide the voice of the

How School Libraries Help
  • The effective school library helps strongly in
    terms of providing access to information
    technology (sources and tools) necessary for
    students to complete their research assignments
    and projects successfully
  • It provides up-to-date diverse resources to meet
    curriculum informational needs
  • Instructional intervention focuses on the
    development of an understanding of what good
    research is about and how you undertake good
  • It engages students in an active process of
    building their own understanding and knowledge
  • Reading enrichment, especially in elementary
  • It demonstrates the link between school library
    services and learning outcomes

Listen to the Voices
  • 777 When I was working on a project about
    science I had no idea what I was doing I asked my
    library teachers for help they helped and by the
    end of the day I felt so much better!!! And from
    that day on I knew what I was doing on that
    project and I got a A I was so proud of myself
    and my confidence went up a whole lot and now
    when ever I do a project I know I have a lot of
    power now to do well on projects!!!
  • 1075 Well one time was when we had to do a
    report on Animals and I had no clue how to find
    information about my animal. So Mrs. X helped me
    find the information on the computer. On the
    internet if its true or false to learn that is
    very important at school.
  • 6256 Sometimes I argue with my parents about
    things and use the library to check if my
    opinions are true

Listen to the Voices
  • 3532 I was working on History project and we had
    to have several sources (primary documents) and
    the librarians instructed the students on how to
    go about finding the information we needed and
    compiling it into something worthwhile. I was
    able to combine everything together and earn a
    good grade.
  • 433 It helped me find info on racism for a 10th
    grade project, and made me really think about
    that, especially I didnt realize how racist some
    of my ideas were
  • 100 I needed help doing a project for government
    that had to do with presidents and they had so
    many books and then the librarian helped me find
    web sites. But then they gave me ways of sorting
    through all the ideas to extract the key points
    so I could get my head around it all

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Infrastructure of Delaware School Libraries
  • Commissioned by the Governors Task Force on
    School Libraries established by Delaware Governor
    to gather benchmark data on status of school
    libraries in Delaware
  • Use data as basis for capacity building and
    continuous improvement of school libraries in
  • Capacity Building is broadly conceptualized as
    any process, strategy, initiative or action that
    is employed to strengthen or facilitate the
    ability of school libraries to provide powerful
    and sustainable, high quality in their schools,
    and to provide opportunities for school teams to
    work together in new ways (Noah Brickman, 2004
    Harris Lambert, 2003).

Delaware Infrastructure Survey Instrument
  • Sought to capture data related to the physical,
    resource and personnel infrastructure
  • In addition, to gain initial perceptions into the
    nature and focus of instructional activities of
    school librarians, initiatives related to
    fostering the development of reading through the
    school library (transformational)
  • Some insight into what the school librarians
    perceive to be the impact of the school library
    on student learning outcomes and achievement
  • http//

Key findings
  • Mismatch between stated goals, espoused beliefs,
    and practices and actions
  • Staffing and resourcing benchmarks not met (71
    certified SL 22 of libraries have full time
    support staff)
  • Low levels of formal instructional
    collaborations small number school librarians
    (25) engage in multiple collaborations
  • Major gap between espoused conceptions / rhetoric
    of information literacy and practice of
    information literacy
  • Focus of information literacy instruction
    access and retrieval of information limited
    attention to use of information resource
    interventions rather than knowledge construction
  • Learning outcomes focus on use and appreciation
    of school library limited notion of impact on
    curriculum standards library centric
  • Inability to identify / express outcomes
    statements beyond school library
  • Very passive approaches to reading enrichment /

Capacity-Building Approaches
  • Measure and show the school librarys
    contribution to reading initiatives, curriculum
    outcomes, vitality of the school library to
    continuous improvement of schools
  • Develop stronger collaborative instructional
    programs targeted to curriculum outcomes
  • Identify reading / literacy achievement gaps and
    reconfigure reading programs through the school
  • Develop and negotiate school and district
    improvement plans that engage the school library
    in a direct and deliberate process of identifying
    school achievement gaps and developing
    evidence-based programs to contribute to closing
    achievement gaps

  • Do students learn anything when they undertake
    library-based research projects
  • What does this learning look like?
  • How can it be measured?

  • To provide (if any) empirical evidence of the
    impact of school libraries on student learning,
    and to use this as a basis for developing a
    learning impacts measure for use by school-based
  • What learning outcomes, aligned to curriculum
    standards, does the school library enable?
  • How might these learning outcomes be identified,
    measured, and embedded into professional
  • Research Component Development Component
  • SLIM Tookit

New Jersey Research
  • 10 New Jersey public schools
  • Experienced and expert school librarians
  • Diverse public schools
  • 10 school librarians working on curriculum
    projects with 17 classroom teachers
  • 574 students in Grades 6 12 range of
  • Key question Did they learn anything? What did
    the learning look like?

NJ-IMLS Research
  • What changes, if any, are evident in students
    knowledge of a curriculum related topic, as they
    proceed through the stages of a collaborative
    inquiry project?
  • What changes, if any, are shown in the students
    feelings as they proceed through the stages of a
    collaborative inquiry project?
  • How does the students study approach influence
    knowledge construction of a curriculum topic in
    collaborative inquiry projects?
  • What interactions exist between knowledge
    construction, feelings, and study approach, and
    what are some of the explanations for these

Assumptions Learning
  • Process of personal and social construction where
    people are actively involved in making sense of
    information rather than passively receiving it
  • Cumulative and developmental process
  • Involves the whole person thinking, acting,
    reflecting, discovering and linking ideas, making
  • Transformative developing and transforming
    prior knowledge, skills, attitudes, values
    conceptual change
  • Encompasses feelings and motivations
  • Dewey-Kelly-Brunner-Piaget-Vygotsky
  • Kuhlthau ISP

Data Collection Instruments
  • Five data collection instruments were used to
    collect the data from the students
  • 1. Writing Task 1 (at initiation of inquiry
  • 2. Writing Task 2 (at midpoint of inquiry unit)
  • 3. Writing Task 3 (at conclusion of inquiry
  • 4. Search Journal Log
  • 5. My Research Style
  • The instruments consisted of a combination of
    qualitative and quantitative questions.

Writing Tasks
  • Writing task 1 and 2 consisted of the following
  • 1. Write the title that best describes your
    research project at this time.
  • 2. Take some time to think about your research
    topic. Now write down what you know about this
  • 3. What interests you about this topic?
  • 4. How much do you know about this topic? Check
    (?) one box that best matches how much you know.
    Nothing, Not much, Some, Quite a bit and A great
  • 5. Write down what you think is EASY about
    researching your topic.
  • 6. Write down what you think is DIFFICULT about
    researching your topic.
  • 7. Write down how you are FEELING now about your
    project. Check (?) only the boxes that apply to
    you. Confident, Disappointed, Relieved,
    Frustrated, Confused, Optimistic, Uncertain,
    Satisfied, Anxious or Other.

Additional Questions at Writing Task 3
  • Write down what you think is EASY about
    researching your topic.
  • Write down what you think is DIFFICULT about
    researching your topic.
  • What did you learn in doing this research
    project? (This might be about your topic, or new
    things you can do, or learn about yourself)
  • How did the SCHOOL LIBRARIAN help you?
  • 5. How did the TEACHER help you?

Changes in Knowledge 5 Approaches to
  • Substance of knowledge. Analysis of changes in
    the relational nature of statements by which
    students described their topical knowledge.
  • Amount of knowledge. Numerical count of number of
    statements they used to describe their topical
    knowledge, as well as isolated concepts / terms.
  • Structure of knowledge. Thematic organization and
    integration of themes into a meaningful structure
  • Estimate of knowledge. Personal estimate of
    extent of their topical knowledge
  • Labeling of knowledge. The students were asked
    to give a title for their inquiry project, which
    was considered to reflect the degree of
    focus/specification of topical knowledge.

Substance of Knowledge
Changes in Knowledge
  • Two distinctive approaches to knowledge
  • -- Transport
  • -- Transform

Transport Approach to Knowledge Construction
  • Gathering facts, then more facts, then more facts
  • Stockpile of facts, even though facts were
    sorted, organized and grouped by end of task.
  • Remained on a descriptive level throughout
  • Limited intellectual engagement with the ideas
  • Surface knowledge
  • Saw the collection of facts as the end of the

Transform Approach to Knowledge Construction
  • Initial superficial sets of properties
  • Moved beyond gathering facts
  • - building explanations
  • - address differences in information
  • - organizing facts in more coherent ways
  • Interpret information
  • Establish personal conclusions and reflections
  • Collecting facts was the beginning and not end
  • Facts were the basis for personal choice

Factors contributing to differences across
  • No significant variations across the age, grade,
    and gender groups
  • Nature of task you set collection of facts or
    transformation of facts
  • Engagement and ownership
  • Nature of Interventions Development of skills
    to construct knowledge rather than finding
  • Partnerships

Study of School Librarian Teacher Instructional
  • Dominant construct in professional rhetoric of
    school librarianship
  • Advocated as a high priority for school
  • Important dynamic in student achievement (eg
  • Lack of theoretical grounding weakly
    articulated education / social psychology /
    leadership / networking teaming underpinnings
  • lack of consensus as to its conceptual boundaries
    and operational definition confusion between
    coordination, cooperation, collaboration
  • Goal to enhance student learning? is it mastery
    of curriculum standards is it mastery of
    information skills and the creation of students
    who mirror librarians collaboration itself
    sometimes appears as key goal
  • Low levels of collaboration are documented
    (Callison, 2005, Todd 2005)

Purpose of Collaboration Study
  • To develop a deeper understanding of classroom
    teacher-school librarian instructional
  • - their dynamics, processes, enablers, barriers
  • - their impact on perceptions of learning and
    instruction, how (if at all) collaboration has
    changed the nature of classroom practices
  • - impact on learning outcomes
  • - its role in continuous improvement and school

  • Qualitative study of the experience of the
    instructional collaboration
  • Operational definition Instructional
    Collaboration is where the classroom teacher and
    school librarian jointly set goals, design
    learning experiences, and teach and evaluate a
    unit of study.
  • 170 partnerships established as part of the
    IMLS-Kent State University IL program over a
    three year program 2003-2005.
  • Experience with the first instructional
    collaboration undertaken with the school partner
    as a result of the IL program

  • 130 of 340 who participated in the IL training
    program (38 response rate)
  • 85 school librarians (65) and 45 teachers (35)
  • 121 (85) with masters degrees in LIS / education
  • Average work experience T 12 years (range 1
    36 years) L 13 years (range 1 32 years)
  • T L 25 had 5 years or less teaching

Some Key Findings
  • Primary motivation for teachers build collegial
    and collaborative relationships teaching as a
    social and collegial experience collaboration
    with librarian was a natural extension of social
    dynamic of teaching
  • Primary motivation of librarians centered on
    marketing library services, increasing their
    status within the school, and spreading
    library-centered collaboration in the school.
  • Librarians also sought to lesser extent develop
    their content knowledge or pedagogical skills
    around which they would cooperate with teachers.
  • Librarians acknowledged expertise with technology
    and information skills
  • Characteristics such as divergent and convergent
    thinking, creativity, flexibility, openness to
    experience, organization, planning were regarded
    as important traits that facilitated the working
    process by both partners

What participants hoped to gain through
  • Teachers
  • Improved pedagogy, content knowledge, better
    understanding of curriculum
  • Resources, technology help or support from
    librarian to meet teachers needs for students
  • Affective reason, eg friendship, relationship
    with colleague, have fun
  • School Librarians
  • Integrated notion of library as part of the
    educational milieu, marketing, model best
    practice for libraries,
  • Improved pedagogy of information literacy
  • Improved status of librarian, demonstrate
  • Affective reason, eg friendship, relationship
    with colleague, have fun

What participants hoped the students would gain
through the collaboration
  • Teachers
  • students to learn curriculum content
  • increased information literacy
  • Increased depth, better quality of learning
  • School Librarians
  • students to develop information literacy
  • students to develop a better perception of the
    library and the librarian

Mutuality of Intent as key driver Of
instructional collaborations
Current Studies
  • Pennsylvania Principals Support for School
    Libraries and relationship of this support to
    student achievement (187 school principals)
  • New Jersey (2009-2011) 2 phases
  • Phase 1 NJ School Library Infrastructure
    Personnel Study To provide a comprehensive
    picture of the status of public school libraries
    in New Jersey in terms of facilities, staffing,
    collection and access to information, budget, and
  • Phase 2 To examine the dynamics of effective
    school libraries to establish the outcomes and
    opportunities for school libraries in New Jersey,
    and to establish the key inputs (both library and
    school-wide inputs) that enable these outcomes.
    Commissioner Davys concern Show me what good
    school libraries in New Jersey look like.

  • 40 schools for in-depth study.
  • Undertake an in-depth study of the dynamics of
    these school libraries within a broader analysis
    of the schools and their culture
  • perceptions of students identify helps as
    inputs and helps as-outputs
  • faculty attitude / values towards school
  • faculty use of school libraries enablers and
    inhibitors of library use
  • faculty perception of impact and sources of
    evidence of impact
  • principal attitude / value towards school
  • faculty perception of school librarys impact on
    student learning, and evidence for impact
  • principal support for school libraries and how it
    is seen to impact on learning outcomes
  • survey of school librarian actions to enable
    student learning outcomes, and perceptions of how
    those actions impact on learning, and what the
    actual impacts are
  • school librarian data on evidence of impact

Key Challenges
  • From Information to Inquiry
  • Evidence-based practice
  • Building teams and partnerships
  • Engaging Web 2.0 tools to develop deep inquiry
  • Re-imagining school libraries
  • Without inquiry, there is no reason for school
  • Without evidence, it is just another opinion
  • Without teams, there is limited capacity for
  • Without Web 2.0, missed opportunity for situating
    learning in the real world of kids
  • Vision for the future you create the vision.
    Without vision, you walk in darkness