Research Proposal

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Research Proposal
Teachers and Administrators Experience the Loss of Licensed Librarians in Schools

This paper will layout the basis for a research proposal seeking to find the perceptions of teachers and administrators of the loss of licensed library teachers in Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS). It will lay out the problem, place the study within a defined paradigm, and give a brief literature review of related research. Once a context for the study had been defined, the study itself will be broken down and explained. This section will include an explanation of the general design of the study including, what will be studied, who will be interviewed, how these interviews will occur, and how these interviews will be analyzed. Finally the limitations of the study will be examined. Problem Statement

School libraries or media centers offer a wide variety of services to schools from the basics such as providing reading materials and assistance in finding books on the shelf to complicated tasks such as teaching students how to evaluate information or how to use information once it is found. In the last two decades, at least twenty statewide studies of school libraries and their connection to school achievement have been conducted (Small and Snyder, 2010). All of these studies have shown a strong relationship between the existence within a school of a library with a strong materials collection, an unlicensed assistant, and a licensed librarian and better academic achievement. Generally this better achievement has been measured by improved scores on standardized tests correlated to the existence of the library elements mentioned above, but this achievement has also been measured in some studies through reported improvements in class work by teachers and/or students (Small et. al., 2010). In spite of these findings, school systems like Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS) are facing budget cuts and are making hard decisions about programs and people in schools. Due to financial reasons, for the 2012/2013 school year, IPS made the decision to cut licensed librarians in its elementary (kindergarten – 6th grade) schools. The purpose of this project is to gather, analyze and present interview data of how teachers and administrators experience the loss of these librarians. Definitions of Terms

Licensed teacher librarian will be a term used often throughout this paper. In the context of this paper, it will refer to a person with a teaching degree and at least a certification (most likely a master’s degree) in library science. This term will be used interchangeably with the terms media specialist and school librarian. Collaboration – as used in this proposal will refer to teachers working with school librarians to co-plan, co-design, and co-teach lessons which involve elements of information literacy, library use, and/or technology use together with general classroom curriculum. Literature Review

Over the last fifteen to twenty years there have been numerous statewide studies which show a strong correlation between the existence of a library in a school and higher standardized test scores (Small and Snyder, 2010). The first of these studies was the Lance study of Colorado schools and this study gathered data about the existence school libraries and their practices in individual schools through surveys (Lance, 1993). The schools with or without libraries and various elements of library programs were then compared to student performance results on Colorado statewide standardized tests in order to look for a correlation between school libraries and academic achievement (Lance, 1993). Lance looked at six factors which he considered made a library program strong. These factors are: staffing (did the program have both a licensed library teacher and an unlicensed assistant), professional development (was the media specialist teaching both students and staff), collaboration (was the media specialist team teaching with...
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