Tag Archives: Melissa P. Johnston

MIL-lab: poster #2


Information Literacy in School Libraries: An International Exchange of Best Practices Between Germany and USA

Melissa P. Johnston, University of Kentucky, USA

Target sector: School library

Abstract: The purpose of this research was to investigate an international exchange of ideas and best practices related to school librarianship, including information literacy instruction, collaboration with classroom teachers, and instructional technologies. As German schools make the shift to whole day school two items are added, a cafeteria and a school library, which has led to a restructuring of school library programs (Schneider & von Jordan-Bonin, 2007). In efforts to establish school library programs in Germany, through a joint initiative with the Goethe-Institute Librarian in Residence program and Florida State University, two school librarians from Germany visited the United States in the fall of 2010 to learn from the school librarians in the United States. The German librarians, along with the researcher, spent three weeks touring American school libraries in the state of Florida with the purpose of observing best practices in information literacy instruction to take back and implement in German school libraries. The researcher then traveled to Germany to observe and document the practices of school librarians in various locations in Germany, including Frankfurt, Hamburg, and Berlin. The goal of this research was to follow up with the two German school librarians and observe the implementation of the best practices in multiple school situations. The researcher conducted interviews with the two German librarians and performed site observations of several schools in Germany to establish which best practices observed in the United States have been implemented, those have been most useful in their practice, those that have not, and document the progress of this idea exchange. Interviews were recorded and later transcribed and an observational checklist was utilized to record data during the site visits. The researcher analyzed the data upon return to the United States, utilizing content analysis to determine which best practices have successfully transferred to this international setting, which were found to be the most useful, and which were not. This poster presents the findings from these observations and interviews. School librarians worldwide are struggling and dealing with the same issues and can learn from each other by sharing best practices and working together. This research serves as a foundation on which future research is planned to further build international relationships, promote idea exchange, and develop international best practices.

Keywords: school libraries, school librarianship

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Melissa P. Johnston, PhD (melissa.johnston@uky.edu)  is an Assistant Professor at the University of Kentucky in the School of Library and Information Science. She worked as a school librarian for 13 years in Georgia (USA) before completing her PhD at The Florida State University where she also worked as a research fellow at The Partnerships Advancing Library Media (PALM) Center. She is actively involved in the American Library Association, the American Association of School Librarians, and the International Association of School Librarianship through serving in various leadership and elected positions. Johnston has published in a variety of journals that focus on school library issues and research and her research interests include school librarians as leaders, the school librarian’s role in technology integration, and the education of future school librarians.

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