Second Snapshot of School Librarian Roles during School Closures

AASL’s third school library closure survey has launched and will close on May 12 at 5:00 p.m. Central. The survey continues to capture trend data, and it also includes questions regarding expectations for student outcomes and educator reporting, student participation rates, hurdles faced by school librarians, and self-care.

Key Results from Second Survey

The responses from AASL’s second survey represent 1,087 schools and almost one million students.* AASL’s school library closure surveys are intended to capture the school librarian’s role during this time and impact of closures on learners, educators, and parents/caregivers/guardians.

Almost 16% of respondents reported that the level of access to the school library (open/closed) had changed since the first survey. At the close of the first survey (April 6), 3.08% of respondents reported their school open to some extent and 11.39% reported their school closed for students but open for all staff. At the close of the second survey (April 22) those numbers had dropped, with 1.85% reporting their school open to some extent and 8.92% reporting their school closed for students but open for all staff.

The first survey found 17% of respondents indicated that their school will not reopen again in the current school year, whereas in the second survey 79% reported that their school will not reopen this academic year.

The activities school librarians are offering learners in response to school closures are:

  • Expanding online resources available to students (curating and promoting): 94.05%
  • Virtual assistance (e-mail, phone, chat, etc.): 84.81%
  • “How to” for accessing virtual resources (written instructions, recorded lessons, etc.): 78.25%
  • Virtual reading development (including book clubs, read-alouds, storytimes, book talks, etc.): 70.47%
  • Extending check-out period: 65.74%
  • Online classes/distance learning: 43.50%
  • Delivering resources “on foot” (includes all in-person options–hand delivery, book mobile, at meal delivery, etc.): 9.48%
  • Offering alternative check-out procedures (photos, online forms, etc.): 8.26%
  • Making curbside pick-up available: 7.65%
  • Mailing books or resources to students: 3.28%

The breakdown of respondents offering virtual assistance to learners includes:

  • E-mail: 90.63%
  • Virtual classroom (Google Classroom, ClassDojo, Zoom, Microsoft Teams, etc.): 71.00%
  • Websites (including blog posts with comments): 46.75%
  • Social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.): 44.63%
  • Virtual office hours using webcam: 39.50%
  • Phone: 36.00%
  • Chat/instant messaging: 27.00%
  • Online form: 26.25%
  • Text messaging: 19.88%

The virtual class content/subjects being offered by school librarians include:

  • Reading development (includes book clubs, read-alouds, storytimes, book talks, etc.): 74.61%
  • Co-teaching with classroom or subject-area educators: 46.37%
  • Research: 42.27%
  • Digital resource training: 36.12%
  • Social/emotional learning/support: 35.02%
  • Digital citizenship: 29.81%
  • English/Writing/Typing: 17.35%
  • Computer science/coding: 16.56%
  • STEM/STEAM: 14.98%
  • Makerspace: 11.99%
  • Games/Gaming: 11.51%

School librarians not only continue to meet the needs of learners in a virtual environment, but they are also leaders in their schools and districts, enabling and facilitating educator and administrator needs in the shifting landscape. School librarians are:

  • Offering resource curation and technology tools for “classroom” instruction (includes suggesting titles/resources): 84.94%
  • Providing virtual assistance (online, phone, etc.): 81.11%
  • Expanding online resources, including expansion of resources and materials on school website(s): 79.75%
  • Facilitating virtual meetings/collaborative events/professional development: 77.53%
  • Providing technology support (setting up and using online resources/tools, tutorials, etc.): 71.98%
  • Answering intellectual freedom/fair-use questions: 58.40%
  • Co-teaching with classroom or subject expert educators: 36.54%

The skills and resources offered by school librarians are amplified through the virtual meetings and collaborative events they are offering educators and administrators. These include:

  • General staff meetings to touch base: 77.30%
  • Technology set-up and/or troubleshooting (including virtual classrooms and/or digital tools): 60.80%
  • Professional learning communities: 53.92%
  • Resource training for educators: 49.93%
  • Co-teaching and lesson planning with classroom or subject expert educators: 38.79%

School librarians are also supporting the parents/caregivers/guardians of their students by:

  • Providing curated resources for at-home activities (non-homework): 80.19%
  • Sharing community resources (public library resources, health and well-being resources, etc.): 75.77%
  • Offering technology support: 61.31%
  • Expanding engagement through virtual channels: 42.17%

Demographics (Comparative First Survey to Second Survey)

*The survey launched on Wednesday, April 15, and closed on Tuesday, April 22, with 975 respondents. The responses are a snapshot in time, and AASL will repeat the survey and report the final survey results.

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