Dissertations and Theses @ UNI


Open Access Thesis


Elementary school libraries--Iowa--Case studies; Teacher-librarians--Iowa--Public opinion;


The national school library guidelines place the greatest emphasis upon the teaching and learning component of school library programs led by professional school librarians. Despite findings linking school library programming, including instruction by professional school librarians, to increased student achievement on standardized tests and improved content learning through student inquiry using library resources, the importance of the instructional role of the school librarian remains largely unrecognized by administrators and teachers.

A qualitative case study of 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 8 teachers from one elementary school and the non-endorsed library associate and the 4 district administrators participated in a focus group or semi-structured interviews. Related documents were consulted. The study explored the stakeholders' perceptions and expectations regarding school library programs. 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. Implications for the importance of physical and intellectual access to school library collections and information skills instruction, integrated with an inquiry approach to learning, to a democratic education are discussed. Implications for school administrators, school librarians, and classroom teachers are also discussed.

Year of Submission


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Department of Curriculum and Instruction

First Advisor

Linda May Fitzgerald, Co-Chair

Second Advisor

Barbara Ripp Safford, Co-Chair

Date Original


Object Description

1 PDF file (viii, pages)



File Format