Advocacy for NM School Libraries

Special Interest Group Advocating for Excellence in New Mexico School Libraries
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Testing & School Libraries

October5

This past April and May, we asked for school librarians to fill out a quick survey about how testing affected their library during the 2013-2014 school year. We had 100 responses. This will be a 3 year longitudinal study. We had several schools that aren’t affected by testing, but the overall input stated that school libraries are being closed for testing purposes. Twenty-four school libraries reported that they were closed for 1-5 days during the school year. The next largest group, though, was 15 who responded they were closed for 11-15 days. The most days a library was closed for 50 days, reported by one school.

During these closures, the majority of the librarians (59) reported teachers have access to the library before or after school or testing. Ten libraries reported that teachers have no access at all during this time. Thirty-six libraries reported that students only have access to the library materials if the teachers take the materials to the classrooms. Students using e-resources is another popular way of helping students access library materials. Librarians have various roles during testing if testing is offered in their library. The most popular role is as test proctor, with 47 librarians reporting that as one of their duties during testing.

We asked which tests are being offered in our libraries, and the New Mexico Standards Based Assessment was the most common test. WIDA/ACCESS and End of Course Assessments came in a distant second and third. This survey was for 2013-2014, so it did not include the PARCC assessment. We estimate that the PARCC may not affect school libraries as much as the NM-SBA because it is offered only online and requires computer access.

As we face more testing in the future, school librarians may see their roles change to be even more involved in testing and their libraries being closed more often. We must let our administrators know how this is not only affecting our teaching staff, but our students. We also must be creative in our ways to make sure our students still have access to library materials, whether that is putting a limited amount of materials on a cart to go to the classrooms, offering more e-resources, or some other creative solution. We need to make sure this topic is in the forefront of our administrators’ minds and we must keep the discussion going between each other to find new ways to adapt to these requirements so they have minimal effects on our constituents.

Testing and School Libraries Responses

For more information, you can contact Lorie Mitchell, Chair of the ASL-SIG, at lorie.mitchell@carlsbad.k12.nm.us or 575-234-3319.

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Statement of Purpose:  Our purpose is to promote the achievement of excellence in New Mexico school libraries

Objectives as related to Goals of the Association

  1. Provide leadership to initiate, maintain, and enhance library legislation and act on political issues affecting school library interests.
  2. Provide and support educational opportunities for school library personnel.
  3. Communicate the role and value of school libraries and librarian-teachers.
  4. Support and improve networking among school librarians in New Mexico.
  5. Support and promote literacy initiatives for youth including, but not limited to, the Land of Enchantment.

Join the ASL-SIG!

Officers:

Chair: Lorie Mitchell, Carlsbad High School/Carlsbad Municipal Schools Librarian
Vice-Chair: Heather Christiansen, Portales High School Librarian
Past-Chair: Linda Keulen

Leadership Committee

Ken Holmes, Los Alamos
Jackie Dean, Las Cruces
Kyla Johnson, Farmington
Marian Royal-Vigil, Albuquerque
Rachel Altobelli, Albuquerque
Kim Baranay, Las Cruces