Final School Library Snapshot Survey Results

AASL’s final snapshot survey has closed, and data regarding the state of schools and learning settings were captured. The results from the final survey found changes have occurred over the past year that will impact school librarian practice for years to come.

An Increase in Responsibilities

Respondents noted that their role in their school district or building increased during the current school year. Some of the increased district roles included leading more professional development, creating protocols for distance learning, curating digital resources, and providing technology integration and support. For building-level school librarians, increased roles included teaching more classes, assisting classroom teachers with technology, creating instructional videos, curating digital tools and other online resources, and providing an increased community outreach/social media presence. Decreases in responsibilities for district and building-level school librarians were due to limited opportunities for in-person activities.

When asked how their practices have changed, technology troubleshooting, e-book promotion, virtual professional development, and step-by-step instructional material for use of online tools and databases received the most “doing more” responses.

Practice

Doing Less

Same

Doing More

Building

District

Building

District

Building

District

Technology troubleshooting

7.28%

5.56%

25.04%

19.44%

67.68%

75.00%

Library fines/fees

62.94%

77.78%

33.16%

19.44%

3.89%

2.78%

E-book promotion

4.06%

0.00%

21.15%

14.29%

74.79%

85.71%

Virtual professional development

4.22%

2.70%

21.79%

16.22%

73.99%

81.08%

Step-by-step instructional material for use of online tools and databases

3.89%

2.70%

19.26%

13.51%

76.86%

83.78%

*Full results available here.

Hurdles of Virtual Learning

Technology issues and limitations of interactivity in virtual learning continue to be the biggest hurdles for respondents.

District Building
Technology issues (connectivity, software glitches, etc.) 83.78% 78.36%
Lack of digital/media literacy skills need by learners 70.27% 63.54%
One-on-one personalized learning opportunities 40.54% 42.08%
Opportunities for collaboration, relationship building with other educators 54.05% 63.37%
Limitations of virtual instruction (cameras off, inability to read student facial expressions, viewing all students at the same time) 78.38% 80.41%
Time to provide training/professional development on online/remote teaching and technology tools 70.27%
Training/professional development on online/remote teaching and technology tools 26.58%
Increase in academic dishonesty (ease in virtual setting, plagiarism, turning in blank assignments, cheating) 34.92%
Student engagement and attendance 81.43%
Streamlining of curriculum impact on school library instruction 43.78%
Opportunities to demonstrate and build leadership skills (connecting with administrator, budget conversations, advocating, membership on school leadership committees, visibility) 33.39%

School Library Educators

While the majority of university/college educators (67 percent) were instructing remotely prior to the pandemic, graduate/post-baccalaureate students felt the impact of balancing school, work, and family. One hundred percent of the school library educators reported student assignments were late (or extensions were requested), 63 percent had students drop out of course(s), and 38 percent reported delayed or difficult communication responses. All student practicums required shifting, with 88 percent moving to a virtual setting and 13 percent delayed or cancelled.

All educator respondents reported “yes” to “Is your course(s) content being updated to reflect school librarians needing skills necessary to teach, or perform duties, virtually?”

Additional Information

Response demographics were similar to previous iterations of the snapshot surveys, with 50 percent of respondents practicing in suburban settings and 26 percent practicing in urban settings and 24 percent in rural settings. All grade levels (PreK-12) were fairly evenly represented, with all grades represented in a range of 42-49 percent of respondents. Ninety-one percent (729) of respondents were building level, 7 percent (56) were district level, and 2 percent (13) at the university/college. At the building level 90 percent of respondents were in public schools (1 percent charter-public schools) and 10 percent were independent/private schools. Not all states were represented in this final survey, with Arkansas, Delaware, and Nevada having zero responses; however, submissions were reported from the Virgin Islands (2), Dubai, and Brazil.

Over the last year AASL’s surveys have shown the school librarian’s integral role in uncertain times. Whether in virtual, hybrid, or in-person settings, school librarians were essential in helping and often leading the efforts of their educator colleagues to transition to remote teaching and learning. As school systems plan and move on to a new school year, these results can and should be used in discussions with administrators to show the critical contributions of school librarians in transforming teaching and learning.



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