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Unpublished Paper
Competing Perspectives: Communicating the Value of School Librarians and ICT Skills to School Principals/Administrators
ALISE 2011 Conference Paper (2011)
  • Rick A Stoddart, Boise State University
This paper will examine how LIS schools prepare pre-service librarians to communicate with school principal/administrators the importance and implementation of Information & Communication-Technology (ICT) standards. A recent state-wide study has shown that many school principals/ administrators derive their understanding as to the role of school libraries/ librarians from three main sources: personal experience (84.7%), on-the-job experience (81.3%), and informal communication with school librarians (80.7%).1 Obviously, school librarian interaction with principals/administrators has large impact on an administrator’s viewpoint on school libraries’/librarians’ educational efficacy. Unfortunately, those principals/administrators who relied on on-the-job experience as a knowledge base tended to assess their school or district’s teaching of ICT standards lower than those who had more formal training such as undergraduate/graduate coursework or professional development.2 Couple this finding with principals/administrators strongly seeing the desired roles of school librarians as instructional support (94.9%) and as a reading motivator (93.2%)3; and this results in a disjointed perception as to the responsibilities of the school librarian toward ICT skills within a school or district. Based on the results of the Idaho School Impact Study 2009, as well as drawing from the professional literature, this paper will outline how school librarians face competing perceptions from school administrators/principals as to their role and impact within a school/district. The paper will also seek to answer these questions: ● In facing these contending perspectives, what responsibility do school librarians have in crafting and communicating a coherent message to school principals/administrators? ● What is the message LIS students should be prepared to give once they become school librarians and what audience(s) should they be giving it to? ● What message(s) are LIS students being left with at the end of their coursework and is this congruent with the environment school librarians are encountering today? ● Finally, how is the LIS curriculum preparing students in developing the proper communication skills to be effective advocates for school libraries and ICT skills? The increased role of school librarians as advocates for ICT standards and school libraries as centers of learning for ICT skills are a critical element for student success in the 21st century. LIS education may well be preparing pre-service librarians pedagogically to undertake this charge but comparable expertise in advocacy skills will be needed to make these efforts truly a success. 1,2,3: Idaho School Library Impact Study 2009 idaho-school-library-impact-study-2009
  • school libraries,
  • LIS curriculum,
  • idaho,
  • communication
Publication Date
January, 2011
Citation Information
Rick A Stoddart. "Competing Perspectives: Communicating the Value of School Librarians and ICT Skills to School Principals/Administrators" ALISE 2011 Conference Paper (2011)
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