Today I have been wondering why some schools do not value libraries. Funds are being slashed, aides are removed, and school libraries are quiet during the school day. There are dozens of studies that show a positive correlation between information skills instruction and student achievement. However, research is not valued as highly as test scores. It seems that tests have become “the tail that wags the dog.”
How do we change this view point? “How can library media specialist validate their intuitive understandings that library programs contribute to student learning?” (Thomas, 2004, p. 166) As librarians we need to become our own advocates. It is not enough to keep a gate and circulation count. We must present our administration with real data. When collaborating with teachers we should take an active role in not only lesson design, but also student assessment. Help create rubrics that assess the entire learning process: presearching, reflection, content, style, and presentation. Students can also be assessed in less traditional ways such as using interviews, journals, self and peer evaluations. Once this type of data is being collected library programs and services will much easier to justify.