The Roles of Professional Organizations in School Library Education

The Roles of Professional Organizations in School Library Education

Lesley S. J. Farmer (California State University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-4498-4.ch010
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International guidelines for school libraries and school librarians exist. However, the role of professional library associations in school librarian education has been largely overlooked. This exploratory study examines the role of professional library associations in Brazil, Honduras, Nepal, and the United States (specifically California) relative to school librarian pre-service education and in-service professional development. The associations are analyzed in light of communities of practice and the contingency theory of socialization. The findings demonstrate how professional library associations provide culturally relevant professional development that melds professional expertise and socialization.
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The need for critical use of information is more important than ever. The 1991 SCANS report notes information location and manipulation as vital skills for today’s employees. In a digital world where the amount of information doubles every two years, individuals need to evaluate resources carefully and determine how to use relevant information to solve problems and make wise decisions. During the 2003 World Summit on the Information Society, governments and world leaders “made a strong commitment towards building a people-centred, inclusive and development-oriented Information Society for all, where everyone can access, utilise and share information and knowledge” (United Nations, 2006, p. 6). What constitutes an information society? Fundamentally, an information society is one in which information replaces material goods as the chief driver of socio-economics. Human intellectual capital has higher currency than material capital, or at least intellect is needed to optimize the use of material resources.

Within that framework, UNESCO (2005) Bangkok identified communication and information as a major program, with information literacy constituting a major thread within that initiative. This international organization asserts: “Information literacy enhances the pursuit of knowledge by equipping individuals with the skills and abilities for critical reception, assessment and use of information in their professional and personal lives. “For the society to have information literate adults, information literacy education needs to start as early as possible” (¶1).

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