WSSLIT Action Research 2014

Early in 2014, the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) and the Washington state Library Media Association (WLMA) produced information regarding the state of school libraries throughout the state of Washington.  Some interesting results that came from this work are the following:

·      Full-time certified professionals in the school library are approximately 61%, a number largely unchanged from the previous year. However, the decreases in part-time assistance and volunteer work in the school library is noted as different this year.  Also, many school libraries report being used for more than customary school library business more often this year.

·      There was a large consensus reporting that to date fiction print resources better met the needs of students than the non-fiction print resources.

·      Access to the school library catalog remotely is high (86%).  Only 3% of the school libraries reporting do not have computers in their facility.

·      Budget issues continue to be a concern.  This year many reported diminished budgets.

·      Scheduling and curricula of the school library were discussed, with fixed scheduling or a mixture of fixed & flexible being most commonly reported. 

·      Skill demands of the teacher librarian involved more collaboration with the classroom teacher as well as indication that the teacher librarian is most sought after by the classroom teacher when location and use skills as well as readiness skills are asked for.

·      The Common Core state standards (CCSS) are highly a part of most school library work.  The teacher librarians tend to not only know these standards, but work with them for implementation and instruction.

The WSSLIT or  "Washington State School Library and Information Technology Survey” was distributed from the office of the Superintendent, forwarded and tracked by WLMA volunteers and completed on April 22, 2014. With 1483 school buildings reporting, the survey results are available as a summary with graphs here, and as a spreadsheet of results more useful for sorting and comparison. 

The (now-closed) survey  is linked here and as a  PDF of survey questions.

Good research builds on the work of many. Thanks to Dennis Small and Niquette Kelcher for their work turning the initial work of Jennifer Fukutaki, Christie Kaaland and Craig Seasholes and seeing it through the survey design, approval and distribution including Supt. Randy Dorn office. Thanks also to Dr. Betty Marcoux for crafting some of the reporting text on this page.  

Key to any research is asking the right questions. Here are two that have guided our project thus far

  • What data do state legislators and education decision makers need as evidence that school librarians should be included in mandatory staffing for all elementary and secondary schools?
  • What information would persuade district and school administrators that school librarians  and library budgets are critical to student success and important enough to include in their staffing budgets?

To find these answers, WLMA will continue to consider and assemble  viable research  that can help demonstrate the impact Washington state school librarians have upon student success in areas of reading, research skills and other measures of student success. To find out more email us at wsslis@wlma.org

Further analysis, presentation and discussion will be available at our fall Conference.


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