IASL 2012 Conference, 11 to 15 November 2012
Each of the peer-reviewed papers accepted for the Fourth International Forum on Research in School Librarianship contributes to the three major strands of the 29th annual IASL conference theme -- Reading, Partnership, and Information. Included are both large-scale studies and local action research that add to the knowledge base of the profession. The promotion and reporting of action research has been a goal of IASL since 1993. It is important that each of the studies has implications for the preparation and practice of school librarians.
The papers demonstrate a dedication to scholarship and research. Each places its research in the context of other professional literature, and each explains its goals, methodologies, findings, and conclusions. The authors have used various methodologies such as case studies, before-and-after studies, interviews with focus groups, and survey research among students, librarians, library educators, information professionals, pre-service teachers, and educational administrators. The researchers collected and analyzed quantitative and qualitative data from test scores, questionnaires, interviews, and discussions.
The papers address important issues in the profession such as (a) the competencies and education needed by school librarians and pre-service teachers, (b) the roles of school librarians in providing resources, collaborating with other educators, and contributing directly to student learning in the curricular areas as well as information skills, (c) the implementation of new concepts and technologies, and (d) the application of knowledge management as well as information management in schools. Once again, the Forum papers demonstrate that research informs and improves the profession.
In "The Relationship Between Listening Comprehension and Reading Comprehension: Implications for Reading Aloud and Learning," Eleanor Howe describes the listening and reading comprehension skills of American elementary school students, presents a classroom action research project that concludes that listening skills may transfer to reading skills, and recommends indirect teaching methods to enhance listening comprehension and learning during story hour. The study was designed to test whether instruction in three listening comprehension skills improved reading comprehension using those same skills. The recommended generic lesson plan for story hour, based on theory and research in listening and reading comprehension as well as the suggestions of teachers and librarians who read aloud, can be used by teachers, public librarians, school librarians, and parents.
In "Competencies for Teacher-Librarians: The Malaysian Perspective," Abrizah Abdullah and Diljt Singh examine the specific competencies, knowledge, and skills that teacher-librarians need in order to perform their roles effectively. Because very few guidelines and standards exist in developing countries for these competencies, the primary goal of their study was to determine the competencies needed by teacher-librarians in Malaysian secondary schools to effectively perform their roles. The study employed a survey methodology using a population of professionals directly involved in the field of teacher-librarianship: teacher-librarians, library educators, and supervisors. While their findings present a Malaysian perspective on the roles and competencies for teacher-librarians, they will also be useful in working towards an international framework of competencies.
In "A Case Study of Partners in Educational Change: Teacher-librarians and Pre-service Teachers," Marlene Asselin and Jo-Anne Naslund aim to clarify the role of the teacher-librarian and nature of the school library program to pre-service teachers. Nineteen pre-service teachers in Canada collaboratively planned curriculum with teacher-librarians in their practicum schools. Data consisted of pre- and post-experience concept maps and interviews with all participants. Results showed that pre-service teachers (a) significantly increased their knowledge of collaboration, resource-based learning, and information literacy, and (b) learned that collaboration helped refine and extend their teaching ideas. Teacher-librarians identified flexible scheduling and a collaborative school culture as conditions for curriculum-based library programs. Authentic experiences with teacher-librarians appear to be a promising means of preparing new teachers as partners.
In "Theory into Practice: Using the PLUS Model to Teach Information Skills and Support the Curriculum in a Secondary School," James E. Herring, Anne-Marie Tarter, and Simon Naylor examine the use of PLUS, a four-step model of information skills, in a secondary school in England with 28 Year 8 pupils doing a physics project. The pupils completed a questionnaire relating to their use of the PLUS model and their attitudes to brainstorming, keyword selection, evaluating resources, reading for information, taking notes, and writing. The teacher and librarian were interviewed. Results showed that pupils responded favourably to using the PLUS model in all areas and that the teacher and school librarian noted improvement in the pupils' learning and writing as well as information skills as a result of using the model.
In "Internet Use in Schools in Alberta, Canada: Implications for School Librarians," Dianne Oberg and Susan Gibson continue their quantitative investigations of the use of the Internet and confirm the findings of earlier studies. The survey asked teachers and principals about their preparation for using the technology and the provision of adequate hardware and software and opportunities for professional development. The majority of respondents felt positively about the Internet as a teaching and learning tool, and many were exploring its use through trial and error. The findings also suggest that there is need and opportunity for school librarians to take a stronger role in supporting Internet use in schools, and the authors offer useful strategies for this goal.
In "Blocking Access to Information and Ideas: The Use of Internet Filtering Software and Levels of Satisfaction in North American Schools, " Ken Haycock measures the penetration of Internet software in North America, ascertains which types of software are used, and determines librarians' levels of satisfaction. While electronic resources have enhanced a primary purpose of the school library program, to enable young people to access and make effective use of information and ideas, the Internet is not a pre-selected menu of information sources deemed appropriate for children and young adults. Therefore, some libraries employ software to block or filter unfettered access to information.
In "Knowledge Management: Key to Partnerships, Learning Outcomes and Resourcing a Learning Community," Ross J. Todd and Gray Southon provide an understanding of the concept of knowledge management and its role in the creation of an integrated information environment for effective learning in schools. Their paper presents findings from an Australian research project that seeks to identify from the perspective of librarians, including teacher-librarians, the significant dimensions of knowledge management, the key understandings and skills required for effective knowledge management, and the role of librarians engaging in knowledge management processes in libraries and information agencies. The implications for teacher-librarians are delineated in this report.
The papers in Fourth Annual Forum on Research on School Librarianship will be included in Information Literacy: Key to the Future: Reading, Partnership, Information (Proceedings of the 29th Annual Conference). For purchase information, see the Publications section of this web site.