Curriculum & Instruction Faculty Publications

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Journal/Book/Conference Title Title

School Library Media Research



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A qualitative case study highlighting one rural Iowa elementary school provided insight into the issue of small schools without library programs as they are preparing to meet the Iowa reinstatement of the requirement for school library programs. The site was purposefully chosen because it has been operating without a school library program or professional teacher-librarian district-wide. All eight teachers and the nonendorsed library associate from one elementary school participated in either a focus group or semistructured interviews. The four district administrators were interviewed individually. Related documents were consulted. This study examined the status of the school library program, analyzed the stakeholder’s perceptions and expectations for the school library program and instructional role, and identified supports and obstacles to implementing the new state teacher-librarian and school library program and requirements.

Three themes emerged from the data, exemplifying the expectations surrounding this school’s library program: (a) a minimal role for school library programs in the vision and reality of participants, (b) the invisibility of the professional qualifications and instructional and collaborative qualities of the teacher-librarian needed to increase program sustainability, and (c) a disconnect between the school library program and literacy, technology, and other curricular area school improvement initiatives.

The results showed this school’s library program denied students access to libraries and learning opportunities essential for a democratic education. The data from this case study support these conclusions by showing an inability of the local school district to create or sustain a high quality school library program without a state mandate and the inability of the current state mandate to instill a high quality school library program in this district.


Department of Curriculum and Instruction


First published in School Library Media Research, v. 12, pp. 1-27, published by the American Association of School Libraries.

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UNI ScholarWorks, University of Northern Iowa, Rod Library


© Karla Krueger. The copyright holder has granted permission for posting.

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