New research examines school librarians’ involvement in online teaching and learning practices during COVID-19 pandemic

For Immediate Release
Mon, 10/31/2022


Allison Cline

Deputy Executive Director

American Association of School Librarians (AASL)


CHICAGO – Newly published research from the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) peer-reviewed online journal, School Library Research (SLR), examines school librarians’ involvement during the move to online teaching and learning context during the COVID-19 pandemic. Articles can be accessed for free at

In the recently published “School Librarians Leading from the Center in Online Learning Contexts: Informal Communities of Practice Creating Space for Connection and Collaboration,” Donna Wake, Helen Hu, and Erin Shaw present a study that examined the nature and depth of school librarians’ involvement, in a position to “lead from the center,” a term used to describe the centrality of school librarians in school spaces, during the COVID-19 pandemic as schools moved from in-person to online contexts.

The research team used a qualitative design based on semi-structured focus groups, allowing researchers to examine participants’ perceptions of their involvement during the pandemic and their perception of the knowledge and skills in their job that could support teachers and students in online teaching and learning. The study found that school librarians’ involvement was not explicitly included in district/school initiatives; however, they voluntarily engaged in informal actions aligned with the CoP framework and worked independently outside district direction to support students and teachers.

The study concludes that schools/districts can and should include school librarians in planning for technology use in teaching and learning and position them as leaders in this work. Additionally, there is evidence that online teaching and learning competencies should be intentionally embedded in preparation programs.

School Library Research (ISSN: 2165-1019) is the successor to School Library Media Research (ISSN: 1523-4320) and School Library Media Quarterly Online. The journal is peer-reviewed and indexed by H. W. Wilson's Library Literature and by the ERIC Clearinghouse on Information & Technology. It welcomes manuscripts that focus on high-quality original research concerning the management, implementation, and evaluation of school libraries.

The American Association of School Librarians,, a division of the American Library Association (ALA), empowers leaders to transform teaching and learning.