School Librarianship and Evidence Based Practice: Progress, Perspectives, and Challenges

Ross J. Todd

Abstract


Objective – This paper provides an overview of progress and developments surrounding evidence based practice in school librarianship, and seeks to provide a picture of current thinking about evidence based practice as it relates to the field. It addresses current issues and challenges facing the adoption of evidence based practice in school librarianship.

Methods – The paper is based on a narrative review of a small but growing body of literature on evidence based practice in school librarianship, set within a broader perspective of evidence based education. In addition, it presents the outcomes of a collaborative process of input from 200 school libraries leaders collected at a School Library summit in 2007 specifically to address the emerging arena of evidence based practice in this field.

Results – A holistic model of evidence based practice for school libraries is presented, centering on three integrated dimensions of evidence: evidence for practice, evidence in practice, and evidence of practice.

Conclusion – The paper identifies key challenges ahead if evidence based school librarianship is to develop further. These include: building research credibility within the broader educational environment; the need for ongoing review and evaluation of the diverse body of research in education, librarianship and allied fields to make quality evidence available in ways that can enable practicing school librarians to build a culture of evidence based practice; development of tools, strategies, and exemplars to use to facilitate evidence based decision-making; and, ensuring that the many and diverse advances in education and librarianship become part of the practice of school librarianship.

Keywords


school libraries, evidence-based education

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