Making Correlations: Part 1
Michelle Baldini and Meghan Harper
The Institute for Library and Information Literacy Education (ILILE) and the School of Library and Information Science (SLIS) introduced the Correlation Project at Ohio Educational Library Media Association's (OELMA) conference and at the American Association for School Libraries (AASL) 2007 conference in Reno, Nevada. School library professionals were intrigued by the idea of enhancing their collection to support their school's standards, but one common trepidation voiced was, "How in the world am I supposed to assess an entire collection and match hundreds of resources to my state standards?" Some felt that it would be too overwhelming to initiate considering the thousands of resources in any one collection.
The Making Correlations series will provide a descriptive and transferable process of correlating a school library collection. The five areas covered will include:
- Introduction of the Correlation Project. Assessing your collection. Completing a collection analysis. Weeding your collection. Why the SLMS should correlate.
- Reviewing existing and new materials using tools and guidelines for matching resources to standards.
- Selection and Acquisition of Library Materials. How to identify gaps in the collection and select new materials.
- Planning a budget, comparing identified materials and conducting a quality analysis to purchase the best resources to correlate with academic standards.
- Cataloging materials, utilizing the 658 tag and Notes tags to make these resources accessible in the library's OPAC.
Introduction of the Correlation Project
The Correlation Project originated in an effort to share a process with library professionals who were looking for a new method to develop a collection to support state standards. David Loertscher's, Reinventing Your School's Library: a guide for principals and superintendents, explains that a core collection contains "basic information on almost any topic." Conversely, an "Emphasis Collection" contains "chunks of information supporting curricular topics." Therefore, the committee focused on developing an emphasis collection that would feature correlated resources by subject and for each standard, benchmark and indicator for every grade.
Loertscher also encourages collaboration among applicable units within a school. He states "Developing a collection that supports the curriculum with appropriate print and non-print resources is a team effort. This team effort will result in a collection that includes a variety of materials so that all students' needs are met" (Loertscher, 2006). The Correlation Committee consists of certified teachers and school library media specialists (SLMS). The committee was interested in developing and communicating a process that would serve as a model to other school library media programs. It was anticipated that SLMS would adapt and implement the steps as necessary to fit their unique program. A 9-step Correlation Process, tools and suggested resources to guide the SLMS in tying resources to standards was created. ILILE's step-by-step process includes: Step 1: Evaluate/Weed your collection; Step 2: Create a spreadsheet for materials in your collection; Step 3: Complete the Count of Resources Tool; Step 4: Review Resources; Step 5: Sort Spreadsheet; Step 6: Tally what you have; Step 7: Identify the best titles for your collection; Step 8: Catalog your resources; Step 9: Label your resources. Details on each step of correlating resources to standards can be found at www.ilile.org.
Collection development refers to the process of evaluating and selecting materials that support the mission of the school library media program. According to Information Power, "The collections of the library media program are developed and evaluated collaboratively to support the school's curriculum and to meet the diverse learning needs of students." The SLMS must have a big picture view in order to develop a collection of individual and cohesive parts. The collection should reflect and respond to changes in the environment. Phyllis J.Van Orden author of, The Collection Program in Schools: Concepts, Practices, and Information Sources, writes "A basic consideration of all collection development activities is the interaction of the media program with the school, other educational or informational institutions and agencies, and the external environment." In correlation work, collection development is the center of the school library environment surrounded by the outer layers of school, community and national elements. A variety of conditions, events, and factors within the school, community, regional and national levels influences this process.
Collection analysis describes report compilation that yields data about the contents of the collection and the subsequent interpretation of the data. The data collected from this report assists the SLMS from unintentionally correlating outdated materials to standards. This ensures that you have quality resources. The SLMS will benefit from gaining collection content knowledge.
Quantitative data that reveal use, age, and quantity gathered with automation and collection analysis and situated within an educational context, is the foundation from which good decision making can occur. Interpretation of the collection analysis should be informed by collection data, library program administration data, and situated within the educational environment.
Collection Analysis and Comparison Data
There are many collection analysis tools available to school librarians. Researchers, Ho and Loertscher (1986), Lowe (2004), Van Orden, (2001), Doll and Barron (2002) are the most notable in the field and all provide suggestions and step-by-step tools to assist the SLMS in conducting a collection analysis. An automated cataloging and circulation system also enables the librarian to make use of vendor-supported collection analysis tools. One example is Follett's online Titlewise collection analysis, which allows the librarian to send an automated shelf list. The quantitative data reveals copyright age, number of volumes by dewey category and genre. A data set is compiled and presented with helpful charts and graphs. The benefits of collection analysis are readily apparent. The librarian can quickly identify sections that need weeded or updated. Additionally, comparison data is generated to compare a library's collection with recommended core collections. The user-friendly graphs and charts present a visual color-coded view of the collection, easily interpreted by library stakeholders.
Collection analysis is wonderful for generating numeric data in regards to the collection resources. However, the library's collection cannot be evaluated in isolation or separate from a school's unique identity. The SLMS must consider the data in light of specific programs, demographics, or characteristics of a school. For example, a magnet school's curriculum may vary widely from a traditional high school. Regional and population demographics may significantly influence curricular programs, student and teacher interest. Collection needs differ dramatically among rural, urban and suburban settings as well. Consequently, a thorough collection analysis enables the SLMS to take a portion of the report and qualitatively evaluate the resources in the existing collection by completing a hands-on review.
For example when examining a dewey category on 590's, animals—a ten year range of materials may not appear to be an issue. However, the information regarding geographical location of the animal in question may be affected by political changes in country names and boundaries. Thus, the accuracy of maps within these resources must be considered when evaluating this section's data generated by the collection analysis.
Stop. Breathe. Weed.
Weeding is especially important when enhancing a collection that supports state standards. Removing inaccurate materials is critical to good collection development. Arlene Kachka mentions in her article, Evaluating your Library Media Center Collection, 2001 "Students need to be informed, and the materials that students check out of your library and bring home communicate directly to parents the quality of library service." Discarding old and outdated materials demonstrates a need for newer more useful materials that support a school's curriculum. Additionally, the SLMS should retain curricular interest while weeding.
Correlation or Alignment
To distinguish the difference between correlating and aligning, ILILE defines each as follows:
Alignment refers to a resource that exactly satisfies a given standard, benchmark and indicator. For example, ODE's Academic Content Standard, Government for 1st grade contains a benchmark, an indicator and three sub-indicators. To satisfy this standard, grade and benchmark students must know how to, "Recognize and explain the importance of symbols and landmarks of the United States" (Benchmark B). Specifically, students must, "Recognize symbols of the United States that represent its democracy" (Indicator 3), and additionally recognize the following values: "a. The bald eagle; b. The White House; c. The Statue of Liberty; d. The national anthem". If a resource with a 1st grade reading level contains information which explains U.S. symbols that represent its democracy and also explains the sub-indicators "a" to "d", ILILE considers this fully aligned to the standard, benchmark and indicators. If the resource covers the benchmark and indicator, but only describes the national anthem and bald eagle, it is considered correlated to the resource. In an effort to identify more resources which connect to standards, ILILE uses the term "correlate".
The "single reason for building a library media collection in the school is to support the curriculum of that school" (Loertscher, 2002). The benefit of correlating is to support the teaching of state standards. In the Reinberger Children's Library Center individuals can peruse the collection and view at a glance which standards are correlated to the item via the attached color-coded labels, which give the grades, standards, benchmarks and indicators covered. Correlated resources can also be identified by searching the library's OPAC, which is accessible state-wide. Cataloging and processing of the correlated library resources will be addressed in subsequent articles.
The Reinberger Children's Library Center is a teaching facility and library materials are heavily geared toward resources that support the teaching of pre-service professionals whom are enrolled in young adult, children's, or K-12 school librarianship programs. Modeling ideas and new innovative examples of collection development within a school library is an objective of the School of Library and Information Science at Kent State University as the program prepares future SLMS.
Therefore, the committee decided to connect resources in the Reinberger Children's Library Center to Ohio Academic Content Standards in order to serve as a model for the state. The project goal was to identify resources that supported standards, benchmarks and indicators. The Correlation Committee looked to a well-respected professional in the field of library science, Karen Lowe, who is an Education Consultant at the Northwest Regional Educational Service Alliance in Wilkesboro, North Carolina. Lowe first tackled the alignment of resources to the curriculum in her book, Resource Alignment: Providing Curriculum Support in the School Library Media Center . Although, the ILILE process differs from Lowe's, the correlation committee reviewed her six-step process (Lowe, 2004). Using Lowe's alignment process as a guide, a 9-step process was developed.
Lowe states, "Resource alignment refers to the process of aligning SLMC resources to the curriculum covered by the grade spans within a given school" (Lowe, 2001). Lowe describes her process as a "step-by-step approach to collection development." Although Lowe focused on North Carolina's K-12 Standard Course of Study (NCSCS), her process can be applied to other states. Similarly, the ILILE Correlation Process can be used and applied in any state.
Step one, assess your collection and weed unwanted materials, has been addressed in this introductory article to the Making Correlations series. An overview on collection development, the importance of collection analysis and weeding, ILILE's definition and distinction of correlation and alignment, followed by the importance of connecting resources to standards. In the next Making Correlations article, reviewing and adding new correlated materials using tools and guidelines to match purchased materials to academic content standards will be addressed.
Loertscher, David V. IMPACT: Guidelines for North Carolina Media and Technology Programs. North Carolina: NC WiseOwl (2006). Available: www.ncwiseowl.org
Van Orden, Phyllis. J. and Bishop, Kay. 2001. The collection program in schools: Concepts, practices, and information sources (3rd Ed. ed.). Englewood, CO: Libraries Unlimited.
Additional Resources Bibliography
American Association of School Librarians. 2007. Standards for the 21st-century learner. Retrieved February 19, 2008, from http://www.ala.org/aasl/standards
Burgett, James, John Harr and Linda L. Phillips 2004. Collaborative collection development. Chicago, IL: American Library Association.
Evans, E. G. 2000. Developing library and information center collections (4th Ed. ed.). Englewood, CO: Libraries Unlimited.
Ho, May Lein and David Loertscher 1987. "Collection mapping: The research." Drexel Library Quarterly, 21(2), 22-39.
Institute for Library and Information Literacy Education (ILILE). Kent, Ohio: Kent State University. (2008) Available: http://www.ilile.org
Lowe, Karen R. 2001. "Resource alignment: Providing curriculum support in the school library media center." Knowledge Quest, 30(2), 27-32.
Woolls, Blanche 2004. The school library media manager (3rd Ed. ed.). Westport, CT: Libraries Unlimited.
|About the Authors|
Michelle Baldini is the grant coordinator for the School of Library and Information Literacy Science at Kent State University. She is the co-author of a young adult novel, Unraveling, Delacorte Press, July 2008. Michelle's website: www.michellebaldini.com
Dr. Meghan Harper is an assistant professor at Kent State University in the School of Library and Information Science and is currently writing a professional textbook Reference Sources and Services for Youth K-12