The Post-Pandemic School Library Learning Commons: Assessing Innovation and Moving Forward


School Library Association of New South Wales (Australia) International Speaker Series Webinar, August 22, 2020

Do we really matter? Do our actions improve student outcomes and have an impact on their learning and their lives? Do the strategies that we use in the library program have a positive influence on how well the school reaches its goals? These are pressing questions that can be addressed through research, especially the “homegrown” research that decision-makers trust the most. School libraries worldwide are innovating and dramatically shifting practice, particularly since the global pandemic has turned things upside-down. We need to have real plans to assess our successes and share what we are learning. The Canadian School Libraries Research Toolkit was created to address a compelling need for practitioner research in Canada, but we are sure that it is as relevant in New South Wales and all of Australia. The toolkit and other initiatives from Canadian School Libraries may help frame the path forward, post-pandemic.

After attending, participants will:

SLANSW Workshop
  • Understand the importance of integrating research into practice
  • Have a basic understanding of useful research strategies
  • Be familiar with how the CSL Research Toolkit can help frame their research approach
  • Be inspired to engage in action research to assess innovations in practice

Minds On:

When libraries and their key resources are not easily accessible, new ways of thinking and opportunities not previously considered are ripe for exploration.

June Wall

Wall, J. (2020). School libraries in a ‘learning from home’ era. Scan Vol 39, Issue 4. Special Issue: Learning from Home. New South Wales Government, Education.

In this article, June Wall, Library Coordinator, NSW Department of Education, offers guidance and practical suggestions for teacher-librarians supporting learning from home. How many of these strategies have you been able to implement during the pandemic disruption?

Primary Schools …………………. Secondary Schools

What’s happening now in NSW? A guide to NSW school students for Term 3. New South Wales Education. Last updated 17 August 2020

Canadian School Libraries Research Toolkit

The CSL Research Toolkit supports school library practitioners as they explore their own practice through research. How can you use the toolkit to help with action research about initiatives that you have undertaken during the pandemic?

CSL Research Toolkit

Presentation Slides

Let’s put our heads together! SLANSW Pandemic Action Research Ideas: New Approaches to Supporting Learning


Treasure Mountain Canada (TMC) Research Symposium and Think Tank

A Canadian School Libraries project: Collaboratively exploring ideas to build collective knowledge of the learning commons approach as sustainable school improvement. Treasure Mountain Canada symposiums are held every other year, in locations across Canada and in partnership with other organizations / associations.

CSL Research Archive

Canadian School Libraries Research Archive

The Canadian School Libraries Research Archive makes scholarly and practitioner research from all Treasure Mountain Canada research symposiums accessible and searchable. The archive will also provide a platform for original research conducted by Canadian School Libraries.

CSL Journal

Canadian School Libraries Journal

CSL Journal is a web-based open source journal published three times annually. CSL Journal articles are of interest to teacher-librarians and other educators, scholars, and the range of professionals and paraprofessionals who work to advance school library learning commons practice.

School Libraries during COVID-19

Students Need School Libraries (Australia): SNAPSHOT OF A SCHOOL LIBRARY DURING COVID-19

“We want to know and share what school libraries or school library teams have been focusing on during this COVID crisis. It might look a little different from the usual, but it’s even more important during this time of change and upheaval. WANT TO CONTRIBUTE? Take 5 minutes to respond to our questions or write a paragraph that explains what your school library has been doing during the COVID crisis.

Additional Resources from Anita Brooks Kirkland

The Virtual Library Learning Commons: Leveraging the Pandemic Tipping Point for Lasting Change. Canadian School Libraries Journal 4(2), Spring 2020.

The constraints that had made people reluctant to develop a virtual library learning commons before seem inconsequential compared to the prospect of remaining offline. In these pandemic times we are at the tipping point. If we are not online we do not exist.

Build Your Own Virtual Library Learning Commons.

Complete resources from a three-session webinar presented with Dr. David Loertscher for The Learning Revolution, Spring 2020.

The Eric Walters School Library Summer Lending Challenge: Findings from the Research (2020).

With Carol Koechlin. This study, sponsored by Canadian School Libraries and available in the CSL Research Archive, may serve as a model for using the CSL Research Toolkit to guide professional inquiry.

Additional Resources: Shifting Practices in Pandemic Times

The Post-Pandemic School Library Learning Commons.

Canadian School Libraries has created this professional collaborative resource to spark innovation about post-pandemic approaches. The resource uses the Knowledge-Building Centre model and may provide a useful exemplar for this approach.

Bringing the LLC Home: Learners in a Pandemic Time. By Melanie Mulcaster & Tina Zita. Canadian School Libraries Journal 4(2), Spring 2020.

With sudden school closures and the massive shift to remote learning, central instructional leaders from the Peel District School Board in Ontario sought a way to support learners and to “bring the library learning commons home”. Follow their journey and learn about their strategy.

School Librarians: Remaining Present in a Remote Learning Environment. By Sarah Mowery, Teach With INFOhio, July 2020.

A school librarian recounts in detail a range of initiatives she undertook to remain present and relevant in the shift to remote online learning during the pandemic.

Additional Resources: Action Research

Action Research Guide for Alberta Teachers. Edmonton: The Alberta Teachers’ Association (2000).

This resource is intended to assist classroom teachers and school administrators in the development, implementation and publishing of action research, helping them to plan a self-guided project.

Collaborative Teacher Inquiry: New Directions in Professional Practice. Toronto: Ontario Ministry of Education (2010).

This monograph provides an excellent foundation for understanding the power of collaborative inquiry, and practical advice in carrying it out.

Please refer to the Additional Resources page of the CSL Research Toolkit for a comprehensive list of resources.