Curriculum & Instruction Faculty Publications

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Journal/Book/Conference Title Title

Teacher Librarian





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School communities and educational standards clearly recognize that reading is a foundational skill for all learners. In light of this, the American Association of School Librarians (AASL, 2010) notes the critical position of teacher librarians to partner with other educators to promote literacy and provide opportunities for library use. Specifically, school libraries are charged with providing “open, non-restricted access to a varied high quality collection of reading materials in multiple formats that refl ect academic needs and personal interests” (para. 6). AASL (2011) supports open access through fl exible scheduling in the library to give students access to materials throughout the school day. The theory behind this position statement posits that the more students read (in both variety and quantity of text), the better readers they become (Krashen, 2004). Research in support of self-selected reading shows that student access to a school library of at least 500 books is associated with higher reading scores (Krashen, 2011, p. 29). Krashen ( 2011) makes a compelling argument for providing greater attention and support to libraries: “The obvious practical implication is that if we are serious about encouraging literacy development, we need to be serious about providing access to reading material” and provide more than “lip service to improving libraries” (p. 28). One aspect of providing greater access to reading material is increasing borrowing privileges. The current study examines how a change in library policy to reduce restrictions on borrowing privileges impacts students’ actual borrowing habits and the loss of books. Teacher librarians who use restrictive circulation policies of one book at a time inhibit students’ access to books, potentially undermining their reading growth. Sadly, the majority of teacher librarians, 71% of respondents in one Iowa survey, allowed kindergarteners to check out only one library book at a time (Johnson & Donham, 2012). Fortunately, 36% of those respondents said they decided to raise their borrowing limits after the survey. However, national K–12 level data reveal policies that limit students’ access to books. An informal online poll administered by Library Media Connection showed that 33% of the teacher librarians who responded said they limited their students to one or two books at a time; an additional 36% limited students to three or four books (“One Question Survey,” 2009). These limitations counter best practices established through research that emphasizes the need for expanded exposure to books in order to support reading growth (AASL, 2010; ALA, 1996; Allington, 2014; Krashen, 2004; Krashen, Lee, & McQuillan, 2012).


Department of Curriculum and Instruction


First published in Teacher Librarian: The Journal for School Library Professionals, v. 45, n. 1 (2017), pp. 16-20, published by

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UNI ScholarWorks, University of Northern Iowa, Rod Library


©2017 The copyright holder has granted permission for posting.

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