By Dianne Oberg
Relentlessly Focused on Learning: The Role of Evaluation
Evaluation of practice is an essential aspect of implementing the new Standards of Practice for School Libraries in Canada. School libraries and school librarians are rarely evaluated in a consistent and systematic way, but evaluations help to ensure that the library’s programs and services are “relentlessly focused on learning.” Evaluations can indicate the extent to which students and teachers perceive that they benefit from those programs and services, but they can also help to shape those programs and services and enhance the understanding of and commitment to those programs and services for both library staff and library users. Evaluations can enhance both accountability and transformation, addressing decision-making or problem solving concerns (accountability) and also influencing people’s thinking about and developing support for the school library (transformation). Possible approaches to school-based school library evaluation include: program quality; stakeholder perceptions; program content; and program impact. Implications for teacher-librarians’ education and for their evaluation practices are presented, based on current research.
Dianne Oberg is Professor Emerita in teacher-librarianship in the Faculty of Education at the University of Alberta in Canada. Her research focuses on teacher-librarianship education and on the implementation and evaluation of school library programs. Dianne co-authored with J. Branch the award-winning professional document, Focus on Inquiry: A Teacher’s Guide to Implementing Inquiry-based Learning (2004). She was an early adopter of online technology for graduate-level education. Information on the development of Teacher-Librarianship by Distance Learning at the University of Alberta has been widely disseminated, most recently in an IGI Global publication, Cases on Building Quality Distance Delivery Programs: Strategies and Experiences (2011). Dianne co-edited, with Luisa Marquardt, the IFLA publication, Global Perspectives on School Libraries: Projects and Practices (2011). She was the founding editor of the peer-reviewed international journal, School Libraries Worldwide, which she edited for 15 years.