Sunday, 29 July 2012

Assessment Item 1- The Role of the Teacher-Librarian With Regard to Evidence-Based Practice.

Assessment Item 1
OLJ and Blog Task 1

The role of the Teacher-Librarian has changed considerably over the last 10 years.  The amount of information available to us at the press of a button, the ability to source resources at the press of a button and the ability to share these resources outside the traditional medium of print has revolutionized the way we find information and use the information to achieve outcomes in the school learning curriculum.

Todd (2008) suggests evidence-based practice has not just arrived in our school libraries.  He believes that many Teacher-Librarians already share the same beliefs.  He writes,
“The fusion of learning, information, and technology presents dynamic challenges for teachers, school librarians, administrators and students in 21st century schools.  Providing the best opportunities for children to learn and achieve in todays educational environment, and knowing that they have done well, is at the heart of quality teaching and learning and is the driving force behind evidence based practice”(Todd, 2008.p.39).

The role of the Teacher-Librarian is continually evolving as the information super highway expands and the need for information literacy skills becomes more apparent in our daily lives.   Also more apparent is the need to provide evidence to support the role of the Teacher-Librarian.

I believe a Teacher-Librarian needs to approach their library as a small business being run within the school community, within the constraints of the school budget.  Resources are purchased to link the library with the learning curriculum, “administrators need to see that the library budget is clearly connected to curriculum goals” (Langhorne, 2005. P.36).  The effectiveness of the resources isn’t measured by the number of students who come to the library or borrow the books, but rather by how the resources available in the library impact student learning and support instruction (Langhorne, 2005).
If the library collection is aligned to the teaching goals of the learning curriculum, more teachers will advocate for the availability of resources and administrators will see the evidence of the positive effect on the curriculum.

As with any small business, there is a certain degree of marketing that is required to make the services of the small business known.  The library is the same.  It is the responsibility of the Teacher-Librarian to let the community know what resources are available in the library, how students are being taught to use the resources in the library and what programs are used within the library to develop information literacy skills and encourage reading.  
“Evidence based practice emphasizes the actual work of the school librarian” (Todd, 2008. P.41). 
Reflective practices of the Teacher-Librarian are encouraged through the collection of data.  “By using and comparing data from a number of sources, you can develop stronger claims about your practice’s impact and outcomes” (Todd, 2008. p.40).  An efficient Teacher-Librarian will employ strategies and programs that work and produce positive learning results. 
Todd writes about a holistic approach to evidence-based practice where by evidence for practice, evidence in practice and evidence of practice combine to create “a dynamic, ongoing and integrative process that informs practice, generates new practices and demonstrates a practices impact on learning outcomes” (Todd, 2008. P.41).
As with the building of a successful small business, through the use of best practices, “practices that demonstrate tangible power of our contribution to schools learning goals” (Todd, 2003), and the “establishment of systematic approaches to locating and gathering evidence of achieving outcomes” (Todd, 2003), job satisfaction and the assurance of the important position of the library within the school community will be achieved and maintained.

In short, the role of the Teacher-Librarian, in regard to evidence-based practice, is to provide evidence to support the use of resources, planning and instructional programs that are implemented in the school library, and use the evidence to collaborative with classroom teachers to strengthen the skills of students to achieve learning curriculum outcomes.

  •   Langhorne, M. (2005). Show Me the Evidence!. Knowledge Quest, 33(5), 35-37.
  • Todd,  R. (2003). School Libraries and Evidence-Based Pracice: Dynamics,   Strategies and Outcomes. WA School Library Conference. New Jersey: Rutgers University.
  • Todd, R. (2008). THE EVIDENCE-BASED MANIFESTO. School Library Journal,    54(4), 38-43.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Helen, you have done well to present an argument for evidence-based practice in school libraries within the context of small business practice. This was certainly a unique way to explore the EBP concept, however, i think you could have taken your argument further, especially in terms of examining how the TL's inputs and actions result in concrete learning outcomes of students. You might find some of the discussion that Ross Todd and I presented in the 21C School Libraries report for the NSW DEC of interest here - see

    You could have also strengthened your blog task on EBP by drawing upon the professional literature written by TL practitioners where they provide examples of how they build evidence. The NSW DEC journal, Scan publishes quite a few articles that showcase EBP.

    And if you are interested in exploring EBP further, you are most welcome to join the EBP for School Libraries group on Facebook - go to and click on the 'Join' button. This is where Ross and I are trying to support TLs in building and reporting on their evidence and the school level and beyond.

    All the best with Assignment 1.

    Kind regards, Lyn