Perceptions of the changing role of the library media specialist
Patricia B. Washington Shelton, University of New Orleans, United States
University of New Orleans . Awarded
This dissertation investigated the perceptions of library media specialists about their changing roles as teachers of literacy, instructional partners and curriculum/program specialists, as prescribed by the American Library Association to impact change. A pilot study investigated a convenience sample of 25 secondary school library media specialists. The results of the pilot study were incorporated in the main study which utilized two instruments. The first instrument was a survey, Role Expectations of Library Media Specialists Survey, which was administered to 124 library media specialists. The subjects were invited, in the opening session of a conference, to be the convenience sample. The second research instrument was the Information Power Interview, a one-on-one interview with a designed protocol. This interview was conducted in one school district with 25 library media specialists, each independent of the others in a school environment. They were also a convenience sample.
The first instrument used a Likert Scale to rate forty-six items related to library media specialists' role performance. The five items most directly related to the research questions served as the focus of analysis. The second instrument, the Information Power Interview, used 10 open-ended questions. Emphasis in both instruments was on the role perceptions of the library media specialist. This mixed design study used frequencies that produced data files yielding tabulations and percentages from the pilot study research, the research survey data and data from the interviews which contained open-ended questions. Demographic questions were also asked of each interviewee. Comments from the pilot study questionnaire, as well as the interview profiles, were used to support the data.
These findings indicate that library media specialists perceive their roles as prescribed by the American Library Association as being essential to impact the Information era demands. The study showed that library media specialists not only perceive the roles set forth by the American Library Association, but are relating those perceptions to plans of performance in the changing roles. Several recommendations are offered for further research to more fully describe the current roles of library media specialists.
Shelton, P.B.W. Perceptions of the changing role of the library media specialist. Ph.D. thesis, University of New Orleans.
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