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[Evaluating the school library media center: analysis

techniques and research practices] [Guide for developing and


evaluating school library media programs. 6th ed] [Program
evaluation: library media services]
Everhart, Nancy, Fitzpatrick, Kathleen, Haycock, Ken (REVIEWER). Teacher Librarian. Seattle: Feb
2002. Vol. 29, Iss. 3; pg. 42
Abstract (Summary)
The National Study for School Evaluation (NSSE) has developed a series of Indicators of schools of
quality in conjunction with the Alliance for Curriculum Reform, whose members include the majority of
the national discipline-based organizations working with K-12 education, including the American
Association of School Librarians (AASL). The purpose of this series is to enable teachers and
administrators to translate high standards for student learning to tools and resources to assist with
their achievement. The complementary Program evaluation series, of which Program evaluation:
Library media services is one title, identifies program-specific indicators of instructional and
organizational effectiveness and provides practical advice for assessment and improvement.

Evaluating the school library media center also provides innumerable resources for data gathering
and analysis. Organized by curriculum, collections, facilities, technology, personnel and usage, the
author addresses the many functions of evaluation that she identifies: success in attaining stated
goals; determining student and teacher needs; providing a basis for allocation for resources;
recognizing strengths and accomplishments; and examining impact on student learning. Both
quantitative measures (how many students used the library? how many periodical titles are provided?)
and qualitative measure (were they satisfied? which periodicals are cited in student papers?) are
included. Many evaluation methodologies, among them questionnaires, checklists, collecting numbers
and observation, are introduced with practical examples and sample forms.

In an effort to be comprehensive and useful, the work is perhaps less focused than it could be. While
stressing the need for local studies, some examples, particularly in assessment of the collection, seem
arbitrary and dated; further, responses on an electronic discussion list are given the same weight as
rigorous research studies. Aside from this, however, it is a very useful collection. Unlike the NSSE title
it is not tied to a set of standards and guidelines and does not require whole school involvement.
Unlike the Nebraska title, it is not limited to examples from one state. In addition, each chapter
includes specific references, annotated titles for further reading, recent related dissertations with a
summary of findings, and recommended web sites on the topic. The appendix notes evaluation tools
from state documents, state by state.

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Full Text (1051 words)
Copyright Ken Haycock & Associates Feb 2002

Evaluating the school library media center: Analysis techniques and research practices.

Nancy Everhart.

Guide for developing and evaluating school library media programs. Sixth edition.

Nebraska Educational Media Association.

Program evaluation: Library media services.

Kathleen Fitzpatrick.

Reviewed by Ken Haycock


ken.haycock@ubc.ca

That schools and school library media programs should regularly assess their effectiveness and
efficacy is surely beyond dispute. That there are several roads to the same destination is evident in
this trio of recent titles addressing program evaluation.

The National Study for School Evaluation (NSSE) has developed a series of Indicators of schools of
quality in conjunction with the Alliance for Curriculum Reform, whose members include the majority of
the national discipline-based organizations working with K-12 education, including the American
Association of School Librarians (AASL). The purpose of this series is to enable teachers and
administrators to translate high standards for student learning to tools and resources to assist with
their achievement. The complementary Program evaluation series, of which Program evaluation:
Library media services is one title, identifies program-specific indicators of instructional and
organizational effectiveness and provides practical advice for assessment and improvement.

Consistent with the approach of the series, this title is organized in three parts: Part 1 focuses on the
quality of work of students, Part 2 focuses on the quality of work of the school and Part 3 supports
putting the indicators to work through school improvement action plans. The editor was assisted by
AASL representatives Betty Marcoux, Carol Newman, Barbara Stripling and Julie Walker.

In Part 1, the three categories of national standards--information literacy, independent learning, social
responsibility--are detailed through the nine individual standards and 28 indicators; accompanying
rubrics provide detail for five levels of performance from no evidence to exemplary levels of
achievement. These standards are tied to the school-wide goals for student learning in schools of
quality--learning to learn skills, expanding and integrating knowledge, communication skills, thinking
and reasoning skills, interpersonal skills, and personal and social responsibility. Worksheets are
provided to assist with defining expectations, analyzing student performance and identifying priorities
for improvement.

In Part 2 similar formats are used with the indicators of effectiveness, also taken from Information
power (1998). These guidelines reflect what should occur in a well-staffed and supported school
library. Part 3 provides advice for developing school action plans with timelines and responsibility for
implementation. Examples address the need for professional development, school policies, curriculum
review and assessment.

The strengths of this approach are the clear reflection of well-accepted national indicators of schools of
quality and of national standards for information literacy and guidelines for best practice, and the
school-wide approach to review, assessment and improvement. Indeed, the NSSE stresses "effective
decision-making that is data-driven, research-based and collaborative"--that approach alone in schools
would result in well-supported school libraries and effective teacher-librarians.

Pushing the envelope a bit further toward a different level of specificity, and providing connections to
local standards and guidelines, the Guide for developing and evaluating school library media programs
was developed specifically for Nebraska and is now in its sixth edition. Coordinated by Deb Levitov,
national program principles and guidelines have been correlated with regional accreditation agency
indicators and the Nebraska Department of Education's guidelines and "high performance learning
model."

There are many more elements of support here for the TL to use in implementation, such as examples
of collaborative planning guides and information process models, suggestions for advocacy (even how
to write a news release), evaluation checklists involving all stakeholders, including parents and
students, self-assessment tools for determining continuing education needs, sample selection policies
and reconsideration forms, role descriptions for school library staff, including adult and student
volunteers, resources for collection mapping and assessing facilities and appendices with sample
policy statements.
Not only does this guide serve as a model for other states and provinces but it is also noteworthy that
its development was supported by a private foundation, the Lincoln Public Schools Foundation with
financing from the DeWitt Wallace Reader's Digest Fund, and that it was approved by the Nebraska
State Board of Education--a letter of commendation from the state Commissioner of Education even
introduces it. While reflecting national standards and guidelines, this is a "hands-on tool" to evaluate
and reform your own program and to use as model for your own jurisdiction.

Evaluating the school library media center also provides innumerable resources for data gathering
and analysis. Organized by curriculum, collections, facilities, technology, personnel and usage, the
author addresses the many functions of evaluation that she identifies: success in attaining stated
goals; determining student and teacher needs; providing a basis for allocation for resources;
recognizing strengths and accomplishments; and examining impact on student learning. Both
quantitative measures (how many students used the library? how many periodical titles are provided?)
and qualitative measure (were they satisfied? which periodicals are cited in student papers?) are
included. Many evaluation methodologies, among them questionnaires, checklists, collecting numbers
and observation, are introduced with practical examples and sample forms.

In an effort to be comprehensive and useful, the work is perhaps less focused than it could be. While
stressing the need for local studies, some examples, particularly in assessment of the collection, seem
arbitrary and dated; further, responses on an electronic discussion list are given the same weight as
rigorous research studies. Aside from this, however, it is a very useful collection. Unlike the NSSE title
it is not tied to a set of standards and guidelines and does not require whole school involvement.
Unlike the Nebraska title, it is not limited to examples from one state. In addition, each chapter
includes specific references, annotated titles for further reading, recent related dissertations with a
summary of findings, and recommended web sites on the topic. The appendix notes evaluation tools
from state documents, state by state.

TLs will find this a useful title for local action research. As the author points out, collecting hard data
lends credence to program needs and supports effective communication with administrators and other
decision-makers.

Each title addresses a unique issue or concern but all provide support for improvement of school
libraries and student learning.

(Evaluating the school library media center. Libraries Unlimited, 1998. 262 pp. $35. 1-56308-085-0;
Guide for developing and evaluating school library media programs. Libraries Unlimited, 2000. 262 pp.
$39. 1-56308-640-9; Program evaluation. National Study of School Evaluation, 1998. $30.)

Bottom line: Here's my evidence--where's yours?

Indexing (document details)


Subjects: Program evaluation, School libraries, Media literacy
Classification 9172 Canada
Codes
Companies: Nebraska Educational Media Assn
Author(s): Everhart, Nancy, Fitzpatrick, Kathleen, Haycock, Ken
(REVIEWER)
Document types: Book review-No Opinion
Publication title: Teacher Librarian. Seattle: Feb 2002. Vol. 29, Iss. 3; pg. 42
Source type: Periodical
ISSN: 14811782
ProQuest 632335341
document ID:
Text Word Count 1051
Document URL: http://proquest.umi.com/pqdweb?did=632335341&sid=12&Fmt=3&clientId=28403&RQ
T=309&VName=PQD