Concurrent Sessions

Research is critical to enhancing the school librarian’s role as a leader who transforms teaching and learning. The Research Empowering Practice (REP) sessions helps inform school library practice by sharing quality research with school library practitioners.

The session listing provided below may differ from content presented at the AASL National Conference as presenters, sessions, etc., may have changed or cancelled since their original acceptance. AASL provides this listing as an example of the professional development school librarians can expect at the event.

Conference attendees should use the AASL21 Mobile App and/or its online component for an up-to-date and comprehensive listing of all conference events.

Apply Research to Practice with the NxtWave Scholars

Presenter(s): Dr. April Dawkins, Assistant Professor, UNC Greensboro; Dr. Angela Branyon, Assistant Professor, University of West Georgia; Dr. Sara Churchill, Assistant Professor, University of Nebraska Omaha; Dr. Rita Soulen, Assistant Professor, East Carolina University; Dr. Lois Wine, Adjunct Professor, Old Dominion University; Dr. Stephanie Burdic, Teacher-Librarian, Millard North High School

Do you know how to take research to make decisions and improvements in your school library based on evidence?

Do you know how to take research to make decisions and improvements in your school library based on evidence? Join the NxtWave scholars (all current or former school librarians) in analyzing published research to extract data and insights to support your practice. In this interactive session, the presenters will share how to break down peer-reviewed research using examples from their own research and publications and lead a discussion of how to use research to improve practice.

School Librarianship: Evolving or Declining? Findings from an IMLS Grant Project

Presenter(s): Deb Kachel, Affiliate Faculty, Antioch University Seattle; Dr. Christie Kaaland, Core Faculty, Antioch University Seattle

What factors impact school librarian staffing and how might roles be changing to meet district decision makers’ expectations?

What factors impact school librarian staffing and how might roles be changing to meet district decision makers’ expectations? An analysis of national data, state requirements for school librarians, and perspectives from school administrator interviews are presented as gathered for an IMLS grant project, SLIDE: The School Librarian Investigation—Decline or Evolution? Attendees can share how school librarian staffing is impacting equitable learning opportunities for K-12 students in their regions.

Research Empowering Practice: Advocacy

Don't Worry, Be Awesome!

Presenters: Dr. Jennifer Hill, Assistant Professor, St. Cloud State University, and Dr. Jane Presteback, Assistant Professor, Minnesota State University Mankato

When the human attention span is now shorter than a goldfish, how can school librarians communicate effectively? In “Don’t Worry, Be Awesome!” former school librarians now professors Jenny Hill and Jane Prestebak will lead audience members through their journey of understanding how school administrators view the role of the school librarian based on survey research. Attendees will gain some practical ideas of how to communicate effectively to all stakeholders within their communities.

The Influence of Standards on School Administrators’ Priorities for School Librarians

Presenter(s): Dr. Pam Harland, Program Director, Plymouth State University, Dr. Judi Moreillon, Anita Cellucci, Library Director

Are you curious about how exemplary school administrators understand the roles and responsibilities of school librarians? In this content-analysis study based on artifacts administrators co-created, researchers discovered the extent of the influence of AASL Standards on their priorities for school librarians. Presenters will engage program participants in strategizing how the findings can be applied in professional learning and practice by school librarians, administrators, and others.

Show Your Stuff: Performance Evaluation Rubrics as Advocacy

Presenters: Dr. Mary Moen, Assistant Professor, University of Rhode Island, and Dr. Deborah Lang Froggatt, Director of Library Services, Boston Public Schools

Consider your performance evaluation rubric for professional growth and as an advocacy tool. Researchers share findings from a study of state-level school librarian-specific performance evaluation rubrics. A new conceptual framework emerged: the “Inquiry Learner” described by typologies - Inquiry Researcher, Library User, Reader, and Accomplished Learner. See how Student Inquiry Moves (SIMs), aligned to the AASL Shared Foundations, can inform your performance evaluation and increase awareness of our unique role.

Research Empowering Practice: Evidence

The Convergence of Intrinsic Motivation and Career Pathway Opportunities through Media

Presenter(s): Ariel Dagan, Library Media Specialist, Tri-County Regional Vocational Technical

Imagine a game where students are empowered to navigate through and embark on a career quest, draw on elements of their personal character, and illustrate how these elements tie into their future career goals. Through interactive game play, students assemble their story. Game quests and challenges help them determine a career path in which they reflect on how their personality matches their career choice. They get to know better their character strengths and understand how they shape their future.

Enough Juice for the Squeeze? Evaluating Professional Learning Digital Badges/Micro-credentials for Quality and Rigor

Presenter(s): Kristine Woods, ABD, University of West Georgia

Digital badges, or micro-credentials, are a cost-efficient, convenient, and evidence-based professional learning design. Participants in this session will explore a research-based framework and rubric to evaluate the quality and rigor of digital badges as a professional learning design. Participants will review the explanatory framework and rubric then use the rubric to evaluate a digital badge for quality and rigor.

Evidence-Based Practice: Using Data to Improve Practice and Demonstrate Value

Presenter(s): Dr. Maria Cahill, Associate Professor, University of Kentucky; Dr. Jennifer Moore, Associate Professor, University of North Texas; Dr. Jeffrey DiScala, Assistant Professor, Old Dominion University

Do school librarians matter? Of course! Do your administrators know that? YOU can make a difference! Learn about the results of a multi-state investigation of school librarians’ evidence-based practices. Identify the domains where librarians have successfully implemented evidence-based strategies and those where they struggle. Explore strategies for engaging in different types of data collection and walk away with a plan to target your own practice and apply evidence-based strategies.

Research Empowering Practice: High School/College Transition

First-Years Meet the Frames: What Do Non-Novice Researchers Take to College

Presenter(s): Dr. Joyce Valenza, Associate Professor, Rutgers University

Does our work make a difference? The First-Years Meet the Frames research team interactively shares data exploring the value of certified librarians providing resources and instruction to bridge gaps relating to information inequity. We followed 200 alumni from high schools identified as having effective programs according to AASL’s Position Statement and compared their responses with a broader statewide sample of first-year students. Learn how they stacked up.

Transitioning to College: Impact of High School Librarians

Presenter(s): Dr. Lesley Farmer, Professor, California State University Long Beach

What relationship exists between the presence of a high school teacher librarian and freshmen college students’ academic success? To answer this question, this study examined 5 years of a large university’s freshmen data about their GPA and their graduating high school. The study found that having a high school librarian employed at least 1/2 time is significantly correlated with college freshmen’s GPA, although SES impacts success. High school/academic librarian collaboration can impact college students’ success.

Research Empowering Practice: Professional Practice

Is This What We Signed Up For? Librarians’ Discourse around Access during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Presenters: Dr. Rebecca Morris, Teaching Associate Professor, University of Pittsburgh; Dr. Jenna Kammer, Assistant Professor, University of Central Missouri

We will share research and discuss the discursive practices of school and youth librarians in blogs written in fall 2019 during the COVID-19 pandemic. We used discourse analysis to study multi-author blogs published by AASL, ALSC, and YALSA. Among the findings were that the librarians’ language indicated they value access to library services; they believe young people want and need services such as book borrowing; and that libraries are social goods, essential in a pandemic.

Rural School Librarians Anchoring Community Mental Health

Presenter(s): Kerry Townsend, PhD Student, University of Missouri, Dr. Denice Adkins, Professor, University of Missouri, Dr. Beth Brendler, Professor, University of Missouri 

One in five children has or will have a serious mental illness. Often, communities lack accessible, acceptable, and appropriate mental health supports. This project intended to determine current efforts among school libraries and communities to promote mental health literacy and to determine rural school libraries’ capacity to promote community health literacy. Findings of an IMLS- funded study will be shared in addition to how they align with the CASEL SEL standards. 

Where Personal and Practical Meet: Reading Habits of School Librarians and Classroom Teachers

Presenters: Dr. Kevin Powell, Assistant Professor, University of Central Arkansas; Dr. Jeff Whittingham, Professor, University of Central Arkansas; Dr. Erin Shaw, Assistant Professor, University of Central Arkansas; Dr. Amy Thompson, Assistant Professor, University of Central Arkansas

This session will present data related to research conducted to examine the reading habits of teachers and school librarians. The research relates to how teachers and school librarians impact the reading motivation of their students as well as how they make selections for their school libraries and classroom libraries.

Research Empowering Practice: Standards & Literacy

Does It Count as a Book? A Study of the Attitudes of Teachers and School Librarians Toward Graphic Novels

Presenter(s): Dr. Jeff Whittingham, Professor, University of Central Arkansas; Dr. Erin Shaw, Assistant Professor, University of Central Arkansas; Dr. Amy Thompson, Assistant Professor, University of Central Arkansas; Dr. Kevin Powell, Assistant Professor, University of Central Arkansas

This session presents the findings of a study related to the equitable access to graphic novels. The debate over the viability of graphic novel use in the classroom continues. The researchers of this study questioned not only the attitudes of school librarians and classroom teachers towards the use of graphic novels but also equitable access to graphic novels.

Enabling School Librarians to Serve as Instructional Leaders of Multiple Literacies

Presenter(s): Dr. Melanie Lewis, Assistant Professor, University of West Georgia

This session will present research that was conducted to explore how school district leaders can foster the development of an effective school library in which school librarians serve as instructional leaders in multiple literacies. Implications for practice will be shared regarding the specific types of support needed by building-level school librarians and district leaders to establish effective school libraries. Strategies for advocating for this support will be discussed.

Secondary Student Information Literacy Self-Efficacy vs. Performance

Presenter(s): Dr. Jen Spisak, Assistant Professor, Longwood University

Although students have grown up as digital natives, they are often weak when it comes to implementing information literacy (IL) skills. School librarians know this anecdotally, but other school stakeholders may not. In this session, you will arm yourself with data that shows evidence of these discrepancies and participate in a discussion on ways to present these data to multiple stakeholders as well as how to increase instructional teacher-librarian collaborative partnerships in the area of IL.

2020 AASL Research Grants

Presenter(s): Dr. Jenna Kammer and Dr. Denise Moreland, University of Central Missouri, Dr. Jenna Spiering and Dr. Kate Lechtenberg, University of Iowa, Dr. Karen Reed, Middle Tennessee State University

The recipients of the 2020 AASL Research Grants present their winning papers.

  • “School and Public Library Collaboration: A Phenomenology of Working Together” by Dr. Jenna Kammer and Dr. Denise Moreland, University of Central Missouri
  • “Rethinking Curation in School Libraries and School Library Education: Critical, Conceptual, Collaborative” by Dr. Jenna Spiering and Dr. Kate Lechtenberg, University of Iowa
  • “Application of the Teacher Citizenship Behavior (TCB) Theory to the Extra-Role Work of School Librarians” by Dr. Karen Reed, Middle Tennessee State University

2021 AASL Research Grants

Presenter(s): Dr. Ann Ewbank, Montana State University, Dr. Margaret Merga, Edith Cowan University, Dr. Heather Moorefield-Lang, UNC Greensboro, and Dr. Ana Dubnjakovic, University of South Carolina

The recipients of the 2021 AASL Research Grants present their winning papers.

  • “Place Consciousness: A Narrative Inquiry of the Advocacy Practices of Five Rural/Frontier School Librarians” by Dr. Ann Ewbank, Montana State University
  • “Collaborating with Teacher Librarians to Support Adolescents’ Literacy and Literature Learning” by Dr. Margaret Merga, Edith Cowan University
  • “Factors Influencing Intention to Introduce Accessibility in Makerspace Planning and Implementation” by Dr. Heather Moorefield-Lang, UNC Greensboro, and Dr. Ana Dubnjakovic, University of South Carolina