Wednesday, April 10, 2013

School district library supervisor study

A new survey findings offer a revealing glimpse at the job titles, education, major roles and responsibilities, and the
challenges faced by school district library supervisors. This national study, carried out by researchers at the
University of Maryland’s College of Information Studies, represents the first of its kind since the late 1960s. It will
provide important baseline information for future research in the profession. The survey population included 290 supervisors in the largest districts, as defined by student populations of more than 25,000, and the largest district in each state not meeting the population criteria. Among the highlights:
  • 93 percent of supervisors reported that they were responsible for providing professional development for their building-level librarians;
  • 47 percent said they were responsible for providing technology support to staff;
  • 24 percent were responsible for collection development;
  • 12 percent were responsible for hiring school librarians;
  • 10 percent were responsible for evaluating school librarians.

Supervisors were asked about changes over time, from one school year to the next, in categories related to funding, staffing, and technology. The aim was to see how many experienced major changes, and to highlight commonalities in some of the challenges these supervisors face. This data will form an important baseline for future research into trends in district library services and the impact on building-level programs.
Among the results:
  • 42 percent reported a decrease in funding for building-level library programs from the 2011-12 school year to the 2012-13 school year;
  • 42 percent reported a decrease in staffing for building-level library programs from 2011-12 to this year;
  • 22 percent saw a decrease in technology funding.
The research team also asked about any changes to areas related to the school library’s role in the curriculum. Some highlights:
  • 78 percent reported that the emphasis on content standards increased from 2010-11 to 2011-12;
  • 60 percent reported that the emphasis on information literacy increased from 2010-11;
  • 58 percent said the time spent communicating the library’s contribution to student achievement increased from 2010-11.
Weeks, A. (2013). The Lilead Project. College Park, MD: University of Maryland.

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