The effective secondary school library : the pupils' view
The research ascertained perceptions of pupils regarding the factors contributing to effective secondary school libraries and considered how far their opinions can be allied to the recommendations of published national guidelines when framing a library policy. A literature search revealed little relevant research on school library evaluation. Most projects concentrated on managers' point of view rather than highlighting pupils' contribution to policy development. Guidelines published by the Library Association, the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities and the Scottish Consultative Council on the Curriculum were studied for information on research bases and on suggestions for pupil input but it was found that neither aspect was given significant emphasis. There was little guidance on appropriate methodology in the documents dealing with school libraries. Higher education projects yielded more helpful information and it was decided to use the Multiple Constituencies/Stakeholder method which was already tested in New Zealand and the UK. A qualitative approach, this incorporates some quantitative methods which are used to indicate customers' preferences. Themes relevant to pupils' interests were identified by studying the published Standards and Guidelines and by individual interviews and discussion groups in six East Renfrewshire schools. 241 pupils completed a questionnaire consisting of 37 statements, each being rated on a scale of one to seven. The resulting data yielded information on preferences, from which factors important to pupils were extrapolated, including a comparison of views of younger and older pupils and of boys and girls. Many of the Guidelines' recommendations were acceptable to pupils but issues relating to the teaching of information skills, reading promotion and pupil involvement in library administration were less appropriate. The value of the project for school and library management, school inspection, future evaluation of the Standards and Guidelines was assessed.