In the school library sector, it has been a particularly tough proposition to communicate what
school librarians do, especially when they collaborate with the principal and other teachers.
significant body of research that demonstrates the major impact of good school library programs – that
means facilities, information resources, and most of all, the teacher-librarian doing this collaborative
work – on standardized test scores, the facts unfortunately do not carry the day.
The unique role and
strength of the school library remains poorly understood, and school libraries are struggling in many
We have to communicate this information much more strategically – for one thing,
ensuring that relationships of credibility and trust are in place with principals and other decision-makers.
It makes no sense for school librarians to be the sole carriers of this message, and they have tended to
be. Parents, other teachers – other influencers, in fact - have to be carrying the message.
to the entire library sector, and to society. When we look at the difficulties that first-year university
students have in doing research for their papers, we see only one of the impacts of poor information
So these perceptions really matter to us, and, though some of them may seem discouraging, these
studies, combined with our own local conversations and studies, tell us where our communities and our
decision-makers are now. In our next video, we’ll look transformative services, and examine some clues
about how we communicate about all this.
Wendy Newman, Faculty of Information, University of Toronto (2015).
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