• The use of social network analysis by school librarians to evaluate and improve collaborative networks in their secondary schools: a pilot study

      Rinio, Deborah; Jacobsen, Gary; Adams, Barbara; Stanley, Sarah; Richey, Jean; Gerlich, Bella (2018-05)
      Social capital, in the form of relationships among teachers, results in sharing information and resources, which leads to improved student academic achievement. As schools continue to seek out ways to improve performance, social capital is often overlooked in favor of development of human capital in the form of professional development and training. Schools that have implemented collaborative groups have the potential to increase social capital, but often fail to structure the groups intentionally or evaluate their outcomes. School librarians in secondary schools often face challenges when it comes to collaboration. The job of a school librarian is inherently collaborative. To effectively serve the school's population, school librarians must understand the needs of their community. To teach information literacy skills, they must have access to students, typically via classroom teachers. Not surprisingly, collaboration between teachers and librarians is a major focus of both professional and research literature, yet librarians report it is one of their biggest challenges. Librarians are urged to start small, work with the teachers who are willing, and hope that others in the school will see the value of collaboration; in other words, build it and they will come. This research sought to determine if school librarians could use social network analysis as an evaluative and strategic planning tool. This study used a mixed-methods approach in a three-phase process to collect social network survey data in two secondary schools, develop the Social Network Analysis for School Librarians (SNASL) Process, and pilot test the process with the school librarians in the pilot schools using participatory analysis. Analysis revealed that the SNASL Process has the potential to enable school librarians to evaluate and improve upon the collaborative network of their school by identifying individuals in specific role positions and producing generative insight regarding the structure of the school network.