By Sue Kimmel, Assistant Professor at Old Dominion University
In this corner of the KQ Blog, the Educators of School Library Section of AASL hopes to focus on research in school librarianship and related fields. CLASS is an acronym for Causalilty: School Libraries and Student Success. In 2014, AASL received an Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) grant which funded a research forum held in Chicago in April 2014 to explore shifting the research agenda in the field toward more causal research. Led by a panel of five, and Dr. Thomas Cook, an expert in causal methods, fifty participants including researchers from the school library and related fields gathered to explore causality and the relationship of school libraries staffed by certified school librarians and student learning. The panel assisted by Dr. Cook wrote an early draft of a White Paper which was then made available for public comment before revision and publication. A copy of the final White Paper is available on the AASL website. The White Paper outlines an ambitious three-phase progression of research for the field that includes theory development, best practice research, and large-scale impact research. AASL recently received funding to pursue phase one of the research and prior to Midwinter, three research teams convened with an advisory board to initiate the work.
Another goal of the research forum articulated in the White Paper was the formation of a Community of Scholars. Participants at the CLASS Forum were energized by the discussions and the opportunity to network with other researchers in the field. Lively conversations during the two-day forum included the complexities surrounding the definitions and measures of student success, of quality library programs and library professionals, and of wide-ranging school contexts. Those who were present at the forum wanted to continue the momentum and the networking beyond the forum. A twitter hashtag #aaslres was recommended and a Task Force created by AASL to explore other ways to continue and develop the Community of Scholars. On April 7, prior to the American Educational Research Association annual conference in Washington, DC, a second forum CLASS Summit II will be held. Applications and further details may be found at http://www.ala.org/aasl/CLASS.
Future posts in this corner of the KQ Blog will include more details about phase one of the research, CLASS Summit II, the Community of Scholars, and other information about research including causal designs.