Saturday, May 9, 2009

Evidence-Based Practice in the library.

I am ending my class at Rutgers this week. No surprise the last topic is assessment. How do we document the learning that takes place in our libraries. One of the many interesting articles I read this week comes from the Library Media Connection "Can You Find Evidence-Based Practice in Your School Library? (Geitgey & Tepe, March 2007). The authors discuss the turn from statistical collection data to data that documents student learning and achievement, Evidence-Based Practice or EBP. They outline three steps for beginners, like me, to realize about EBP. I want to share what those steps are and how I plan to address them in my library setting.

#1. Know the research that demonstrates how school libraries affect learning. Being in the middle of finalizing my library certificate I am surrounded by library research. Will this always be the case? I have set up a google reader account to ensure that I continue to follow blogs that discuss library issues and assessment. I have key journal alerts set up through EBSCO host that bring library information to my inbox. I also follow librarians like Christopher Harris, Joyce Valenza and Michael Stephens on Twitter that provide links, ideas and transcripts from library conferences. Surrounding myself with current research is a must for this profession.

#2. Mesh this knowledge with your own wisdom to build student learning. The authors point out that the data that is collected must "relate to instruction much more than the program." They encourage the librarian to view the item analysis from the state tests to look for correlations from the content standards tested to the library standards. By meeting with my principal later this year to review this data, I will be able to make collaborative unit recommendations that will allow me to focus library instruction on those standards that are tested.

#3 Work with your own school library to collect edvidence that shows you do make a difference. I was already planning on having library skills be included in collaborative project rubrics next year. However, after reading the authors' suggestions, I am now designing student reflection sheets, surveys, exit slips and checklists as well.I will start with a student reflection sheet before this year ends about how students felt the library helped them this year.

The authors do not stop with encouraging librarians to gather data, but to create a plan to share that data. They encourage us to share the evidence with teachers, administration, parents and the community. I will start small this year and present this the data I have from reflection sheets and teacher surveys to my principal. At the meeting where we discuss the test standards, I will share next year's plan to show Evidence-Based Practice in the library.

I welcome any suggestions you may have to guide me along this path. I promise to post my plan as soon as it is outlined.

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