CHICAGO – Janice Newsum of Houston, Texas and Anne Marie Perrault of Buffalo, N.Y. are the recipients of the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) Research Grant sponsored by Heinemann Raintree.
In her application, Newsum wrote, "…on Nov. 29, 2009, President Obama announced "Educate to Innovate," a new program focused on the 'grand challenge' of STEM literacy… however, many school librarians feel unprepared to support STEM."
Newsum's research, hosted by Florida State University's School of Library and Information Science, will answer whether school libraries are supporting science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). The study is aimed at improving libraries in the Houston Independent School District, where Newsum works, and can be conducted elsewhere through cooperative inquiry.
Perrault's research will focus on examining existing and emerging multimodal resources to foster learning and information literacy skills among K-12 students with disabilities. The study will explore the perceptions and practices of school librarians working with students with disabilities.
In her statement of the problem, Perrault wrote, "Students with a range of physical, cognitive, and emotional disabilities represent an increasing proportion of students. The instructional inclusion of students with disabilities is a key focus area and offers potential opportunities for leadership by school librarians."
"This year's proposals were outstanding examples of research that can be done around the many roles of school librarians," said Marcia Mardis, chair of the Research Grant Subcommittee. "The competition was fierce, and there was an excellent array of projects proposed, all of which we hope will be conducted by the researchers at some point. Janice Newsum's focus on exploring and improving the relationship between school libraries and science achievement and Dr. Anne Perrault's groundbreaking work in defining school library services for children with disabilities will raise the profile of these important topics for school librarians."
Established in 1993, AASL Research Grants are given to up to two school librarians, library educators, library information science or education professors to conduct innovative research aimed at measuring and evaluating the impact of school library programs on learning and education.
The American Association of School Librarians, www.aasl.org, a division of the American Library Association (ALA), promotes the improvement and extension of library services in elementary and secondary schools as a means of strengthening the total education program. Its mission is to advocate excellence, facilitate change and develop leaders in the school library field.