Building the Capacity of School Librarians to Facilitate the Success of English Language Learners




English Language Learners, School Librarians, School Library Services, Community Partnerships, School Librarianship Education


Outcomes from the recent United States (U.S.) census indicate that the country continues to grow in diverse populations. At least 4 million English Language Learner (ELL) students are enrolled in the U.S. public school system. Frequently, ELL students are faced with complete immersion into classes with teachers who may not have specialized training to assist them. According to the American Association of School Librarians’ National School Library Standards, school librarians actively engage the entire school population and its stakeholders to facilitate academic achievement. As such, they can provide educational experiences to supplement the classroom curriculum.

            Given these circumstances, a pilot study was conducted with pre-service and recently certified school librarians regarding their ELL training. Results showed that most participants were interested in learning more about how to assist ELLs. A majority of them responded that they experienced some level of difficulty with using technology to enhance learning for ELLs and understanding how to develop a multicultural lesson plan for ELLs. These results suggest that librarians need more training in this area.

            In response, this poster reports preliminary results from an IMLS funded project developed to build the capacity of school librarians to provide services for ELLs. During the project, a multidisciplinary group of experts, including the school library community and ELL stakeholders such as linguists, ELL community members, public librarians, educational technologists, teachers, and school administrators, are collaborating to identify research-based strategies for providing learning opportunities. Best practices and resources for educating school librarians will be shared.

Author Biographies

Daniella Smith, University of North Texas

Daniella Smith is the Hazel Harvey Peace Endowed professor in the Department of Information Science at the University of North Texas. Her research interest include LIS education, school librarianship, STEM education in schools, and information seeking behaviors.

Dr. Tyler-Wood, University of North Texas

Dr. Tyler-Wood is a professor in the Department of Learning Technologies at the University of North Texas. Her research interests include assessing and determining the appropriate curriculum for special needs populations.

Dr. Zhang, University of North Texas

Xian Zhang is an associate professor in the Department of Linguistics at the University of North Texas. His research interests include second language acquisition, sociocultural theory, fMRI, language, and second language vocabulary assessment.

Ijay Kaz-Onyeakazi, University of North Texas

Ijay Onyeakazi is a doctoral student and teaching fellow at the University of North Texas. Her research interests include artificial intelligence, data mining and analytics, natural language processing, and machine learning.






Works in Progress Posters