Your School Librarians Are Key To Student Success
Ever wonder how important your school librarians are to your student’s successful transition to college? A new report from the ALA, “Factors Affecting Students’ Information Literacy as They Transition from High School to College“, lays it out in some detail. From the abstract:
Despite the considerable attention paid to the need to increase the information literacy of high school students in preparation for the transition to college, poor research skills still seem to be the norm. To gain insight into the problem, library instruction environments of nineteen high schools were explored. The schools were selected based on whether their graduates did well or poorly on information-skills assignments integrated in a required first-year college course. The librarians in the nineteen schools were asked to characterize their working relationships with teachers, estimate their students’ information-literacy achievement, and provide data on their staffing and budgets.
Findings suggest that school librarians are seldom in a position to adequately collaborate with teachers and that their opportunities to help students achieve information literacy are limited.
Make sure to read the conclusion, where this troubling statement is written by the authors:
The key insight gained from this study is that school librarians are relatively powerless to effect change from within or on their own. Although Table 7 identifies many of the barriers to successful IL programs, including librarians’ own limited concept of their role, there is barely any mention of the part that should be played by school administration. Even those librarians who come across as strong promoters of IL in their schools do not talk about how they try to advocate with their principals or with curriculum committees. Reading the transcripts leaves one with an impression of the librarian as isolated and dependent on the cooperation of individual teachers. Broad collaboration with teachers and information literacy integration with curricula are not held up as priorities. A sense of acceptance of the status quo is pervasive.