School Library Advocacy Success- Perceptions in Context

BURNS, Elizabeth (2016) School Library Advocacy Success- Perceptions in Context. Paper presented at: IFLA WLIC 2016 – Columbus, OH – Connections. Collaboration. Community in Session 202 - School Libraries.

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Language: English (Original)
Available under licence Creative Commons Attribution.


School Library Advocacy Success- Perceptions in Context

School librarians must be able to articulate the value of the educational impact they have on students and do so in a manner that is meaningful to their stakeholders (Kirkland, 2012). Little research (Ewbank, 2011; Haycock, 2003; Oberg, 2006) exists examining effective advocacy practices or the perceptions of school library programs by stakeholders when school librarians are strong advocates for their programs. This study addresses this gap and explores perceived advocacy success by school librarians, as well as their stakeholders, and the strategies implemented to gain support for the school library program. This study employed a mixed method explanatory research method to examine the experiences of practicing school librarians. Advocacy behaviors were explored through qualitative data. Drawing on responses of a large national sample, a criterion sample of eighteen participants representing six sites, semi-structured interviews were conducted to explore participant experiences with advocacy. The school librarian was the primary participant at each site, interviewed in addition to a co-teacher and an administrator to discuss perceptions of the school librarian’s advocacy success. Interview data were coded and analyzed; themes were identified. This led to the exploration of two subthemes- formal and informal measures of perceived success. For the purposes of this study, advocacy is defined as the deliberate sustained effort to foster understanding of the library program while influencing the attitudes of key stakeholders. Study participants articulated multiple activities that build relationships with a variety of stakeholder groups in their communities in such a way that the perception of the school library was redefined. Using this model, targeted advocacy plans may be constructed to assist school librarians to become stronger advocates. Stakeholder perceptions of the impact school libraries make on the educational landscape can be influential in building continued support.

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