Quality school library – how
do we find out?
Polona Vilar
Department of LIS&BS, Faculty of Arts, University of Ljubljana, SLO
Ivanka Stričević
Department of Information Sciences, University of Zadar, CRO
Dynamic and good SL‘s  development of
learning competences
What constitutes a good SL?
Complex issues, accompanied by questions about
future sustainability and roles of SL‘s
The ongoing development & testing of quality
assessment models and frameworks are very
important, in fact critical, for the SL profession
Question of methodology of SL research
In this paper
SL‘s in Slovenia and Croatia
Until 1991 ( YU) developed according to the
same EDU and LIBR laws and standards
Since then partly different development
But, their development should follow (at least it
can be expected) the same theoretical foundation
and fundamental professional guidelines
Why methodological paper?
issues, which should guide quality,
comprehensive empirical research, too rarely come
into discussion.
methodology is developed through small-scale
results (perhaps too limited) then serve as a
baseline for the development of theories and concepts,
and consequently also indicators of quality.
CISSL model of quality school library
(Todd&Kuhlthau et al., 2005) – the methodology!
Phase 1:
quality factors, identified through in-depth
research of intentionally chosen good SL‘s
of good
& effective schools - rating excellent and employing a
certified LMS
set of criteria based on the Ohio SL Guidelines (Library
Guidelines, 2003)
International Advisory Panel  the final set of criteria
to Ohio schools meeting the criteria to apply
for participation, provide documentation.
Finally: 11-member Ohio Experts Panel set up – final
selection of participating 39 schools; principle of
judgement sampling.
Criteria (Tepe & Geitgey, 2005, p. 59)
Minimum requirements:
The school building includes at least one of the K-12 grades.
The building library program is managed by a full time, certified
library media specialist
The school library media specialist and the library program are
instrumental partners in a systematic information literacy
instruction program taught within the school.
A physical school library exists within the building
A 2002 Ohio School District Report Card rating with supporting
data must be available.
The school must have a building IRN registered with the Ohio
Department of Education.
From the
Ohio Effective School Library Guidelines
Minimum requirements
The following areas (adapted from the January, 2003 draft of the
Ohio Effective School Library Guidelines) will be used to evaluate the
prospective school with regard to selection for the research project.
Criterion 1: (School Goals and Leadership)-Effective school library
media programs support the mission and continuous improvement plan
of the school district.
Criterion 2: (Curriculum)-Effective school library media programs
support and enhance the curriculum and are an integral part of
teaching and learning.
Criterion 3: (Information Literacy) (Including technological and
media literacies)- Effective school library media programs provide
information literacy skills instruction.
Criterion 4: (Reading)-Effective school library media programs
promote and encourage reading for academic achievement and lifelong learning.
Criterion 5: (Technology Resources)-Effective school library media
programs provide, integrate, and utilize a technology rich
environment to support teaching and learning.
School Goals and Leadership
 Criterion 2: Curriculum
 Criterion 3: Information Literacy
 Criterion 4: Reading
 Criterion 5: Technology Resources
 Criterion
Further CISSL methodology
Phase 2:
The characteristics of these SL analyzed to see
how students benefit from them
Looking at the “conceptions of help”
key instruments (questionnaires)
perceptions of helpfulness of
the library to students
Result: CISSL Model
(Todd & Kuhlthau, 2005a, p. 6)
Our aim & research questions
What methodology is needed (and how it can be developed) for
investigation of the quality of existing SL‘s in Slovenia and
Croatia, having in mind the parameters which will enable
comparative analysis in respective countries?
Which criteria can be applied in choosing effective libraries on which the
quality of SL will be explored; which will further serve as a comparison
with the CISSL model?
Which parts of the research methodology from the CISSL research can be
adopted and what should be changed according to the context?
Which methods will/could be applied in investigation of the SL‘s in
Slovenia and Croatia?
Development of the methodology of researching the
quality of SLO/CRO SL‘s
Identification of good libraries (= sample) – the most
demanding part of the research
 Why?
 (Re)framing
of criteria?
The second part of research could be applied
Phase 1 (SLO/CRO)
Issues of criteria & methodology (1)
Identification of good SL‘s
 SL‘s
– part of EDU system – influenced by the social,
economic and political system; these elements need to be
considered in the methodology.
 Lack
of relevant statistic
 Lack
of scientific analyses of school practice, and worrying lack of
interest from the school authorities.
 PISA results
– a strong evidence of students‘ achievements
and an indicator of the „quality“ of EDU system
 But,
no exact evidence on role of SL‘s – its influence on
students‘ learning achievements
 Novljan
(1994): The actual educational system influences the
development of SL‘s more than professional guidelines.
Issues of criteria & methodology
No unique data which could give the exact
indicators related to the criteria used in the CISSL
If the criteria are based only on the general level
(documents, regulations), this would not give the
real picture.
School management and librarians know these
documents – in reality the practice and the overall
situation often differ from what has been
Issues of criteria & methodology
Basis for the criteria setup:
 Documents
and regulations – only as a starting point
 Theoretical
foundations („quality SL“)
 Measurable
and comparable context-based indicators
Content analysis
Unique criteria should be developed which are not general
but very precise and take into consideration the context.
If the criteria are not operationalized in detail, measurable
and comparable, school management and school librarians
might show the picture of what is desired/required, not of
the real condition.
Phase 2 (SLO/CRO)
Further steps in research
Questionnaire CISSL – in-depth research of what
makes a quality SL (perceptions of help)
When data is collected, it will be useful for anaysis:
Of the situation in each country
Of similarities/differences between the countries
Such approach will enable the verification of the
validity of the CISSL model of a quality SL, when
applied in SLO/CRO
 And/or
the need for changes
We also need to try to position our discussion in a
wider, possibly more international context.
Similar approaches could be used to further verify
the CISSL model.
Thank you!