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Finding the evidence: School libraries and self evaluationKathy Lemaire OBE BA DipLib MCLIPFormer Chief Executive, The School Library Association

Conference on self evaluation of school librariesLisbon 3rd November, 20081

What Why The

is self evaluation?

self evaluation is an essential tool

drivers for school and school library improvement the UK model came about



It is not enough to understand what we ought to be, unless we know what we are; and we do not understand what we are, unless we know what we ought to be. T.S. Eliot



The political backgroundEducation law is created by :The Scottish Parliament The Welsh Assembly The Northern Ireland Assembly The UK Parliament (England)

and managed byLocal Authorities Individual schools


School libraries in the UK Non-statutory

status Most schools have libraries Most provide books, magazines, CDROMs, Internet access Most give some training to students on research skills and using the library Often targets for budget cuts


UK school librariesMost actively support development of literacy and reading for pleasure


UK school librariesMost give some training to students on research skills and using the library


UK school librariesPrimary schoolsusually open only part of the day usually run by a teacher, teaching assistant or volunteer


UK school librariesSecondary schools may be run by qualified or

unqualified librarian or a teacher, often with student helpers usually open longer hours, often before and after school for homework and reading clubs



Review of standards in schools

External review Inspection by official bodies Internal review carried out by the school

Internal review is becoming more formal and extensive


Inspection of schools

England: The Office for Standards in Education (OFSTED) Wales: ESTYN Scotland: Her Majestys Inspectorate (HMIE) Northern Ireland: The Education and Training Inspectorate (ETINI) All have been moving towards a model of schools evaluating their own performance.13

Developing self evaluation1. Evidence gathering and description

Evaluation 2. Output Impact 3. Occasional inspection Continuous self assessment14

New Haven public school criteria for libraries:

Relationships: with students, staff, principal, parents, etc Role: as teacher, education leader, manager Services: newsletters, email Facility: layout, desk, seating, access, scheduling Programmes, collaboration, research methods Collection: resources, reference, periodicals Technology: number of computers, online and other technology


Self Evaluation Model Scotland

How Good is Our School? How Good is Our School Library Taking a Closer Look at the School Library Resource Centre


Self Evaluation Models - Englandbased on Ofsted themes

Improve your library: a self-evaluation process for primary schools


Self Evaluation Models - Englandbased on Ofsted themes

Improve your library:a self-evaluation process for secondary school libraries and learning resource centres


Self Evaluation Models:based on Ofsted themes

Improve your library:a self-evaluation process for secondary school libraries and learning resource centres


Self Evaluation Model Themes

How high are standards? How well are students attitudes, values and personal qualities developed? How effective are teaching and learning? How well does LRC provision meet pupils needs? How well are pupils guided and supported? How effectively does the school work with parents and the community? How well is the LRC led and managed?20

Other drivers for self evaluation

Accountability and transparency The expectation of continuous improvement Demonstrating the value of the library



Self evaluation Range

of activities assessing, appraising, monitoring, auditing etc from within looking inwards and outwards the past, taking stock of the present and planning for the future




Development planningPolicies are helpful management tools; development planning is management itself...Development planning helps schools determine priorities for action and turn good intentions into actions Stewart Robertson HMI


What does self evaluation involve?

Agreeing focus on specific areas of work Deciding indicators activities that demonstrate success Gathering evidence how you know they are taking place Planning development taking place after evaluation to improve service / activities


Focus of evaluationHow the library / librarian might:

support teaching and learning develop students information literacy skills help raise standards support students reading for education and for pleasure affect students learning outcomes


Why evaluate your school library?

Develop a shared vision Transparency Demonstrate your value

Support whole school strategic planning Basis for development / improvement Support budget bids Evidence for school Inspectors, school Governors, SMT Salary and status Comparison with national/local benchmarks27

And finally . . . Remember to record everything If possible make use of a critical friend Make good use of your findings


Weblinkshttp://www.informat.org/schoollibraries/ http://www.hmie.gov.uk/documents/publication/hgiosjte3.pdf http://www.slainte.org.uk/slic/schoollibs/performance.htm http://www.hmc.org.uk/publications/Mak ing-self-evaluation-work.pdf