Unlocking the Potential of School Libraries: What Actions are New Zealand Primary School Principals Taking to Integrate the School Library in Information Literacy Initiatives? Final Report
Information literacy is implicit in the national education curriculum’s key competencies for students, yet primary schools lack an explicit path to develop students’ information skills. The literature shows that school library programs can foster information literacy and improve student achievement, with the principal’s support identified as a significant factor. This study investigates the actions of New Zealand primary school principals to integrate the school library in information literacy initiatives. An online survey collected quantitative and qualitative data from a random sample of primary school principals, stratified by decile rating to reflect the school population in microcosm. Sixty-nine responses were collected and the low response rate meant it was not possible to generalise the results of the survey. Key findings of the research were that a majority of principals supported information literacy initiatives through advocacy; professional development; use of external support; student assessment; separate library budgets; and reasonable library opening hours. A minority maintained a separate information literacy policy; adequately resourced the library with trained staff; or promoted collaborative planning between teaching and library staff through flexible scheduling of class library time. Actions were not affected by decile rating but differences by school size and locale were identified, particularly for small and rural schools. Principals’ perceptions of information literacy did not appear to affect their actions. Suggestions for further research are made to expand upon the findings.