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November/December 2012, Volume 4, Issue 10

Continuing Education Alert

Check Your Calendars!!

One Book South Dakota 2012

Picture Book Month

Native American Heritage Month

National Novel Writing Month

International Games Day
Nov. 3

American Education Week
Nov. 11-17

SDLA Legislative Day
Jan. 10

ALA Midwinter Meeting
Jan. 25-29

Digital Learning Day
Feb. 6

Featured e-Resources of the Month
Full-text reference books, new and updated, at your fingertips 24/7

School Libraries


School library pathway to assessment…through the 21st Century and beyond

The State Library has recently released a 21st Century School Library Self-Assessment Tool for librarians and administrators to use in evaluating the school’s library – the place, the professional, and the program. The assessment is modeled after the School Library Guidelines, which were adopted in 2010-11, along with the School Library Standards. The guidelines are an outline of best practices for the library itself, while the standards outline student exit outcomes.

While this tool is a voluntary assessment of best practices, it has been endorsed and adopted by the State Library Board, the South Dakota Library Association and the South Dakota Board of Education. The State Library will continue to collect information by district through the annual school library survey, but the assessment tool is designed for self-evaluation by individual school libraries.

Five uses for the 21st Century School Library Self-Assessment Tool are as follows:

  • To identify strengths and weaknesses in the place, program, or professional
  • To advocate for resources and/or funding in areas of need
  • To provide a snapshot of the school library in the 21st Century
  • To plan for the future by setting goals
  • To award, highlight and celebrate a library’s status as effective, enhanced, or exemplary

As many school libraries work toward meeting the basic criteria set forth in the School Library Guidelines, there are some who have already met and exceeded these best practices. We encourage those school libraries to use the self-assessment tool to apply for the 21st Century School Library Award. To do this, complete the self-assessment tool to see which level in which you fall—effective, enhanced, or exemplary. Follow the directions on the award application, found on the last two pages of the self-assessment tool, by submitting the self-assessment and three examples (program, place, professional) electronically to the State Library.

Applications will be accepted from March 1 to May 1, with awards announced in September 2013. Award status lasts for two years, and then schools may re-apply for the same or an updated status.

The document is available for schools to begin using now. You will find the 21st Century School Library Self-Assessment Tool and Award information at (PDF).

For further information, watch the archive of "21st Century School Library Self-Assessment: a RACE Webinar" at or contact Mary G. Johnson at email or Joan Upell at email.


Sneak peak at the 2012 School Data Digest

The data gathered through the 2011-2012 School Library Survey is currently being summarized and prepared for publication in the 2012 School Data Digest. With responses from all 219 school districts/school systems surveyed it is a very complete picture of what is happening in school libraries across the state.

School libraries of all types serve the literacy and research needs of student populations as large as 22,833 to as small as 27. Overall, school library circulation and usage have increased but the number of certified librarian positions has decreased. Watch for the complete publication, the 2012 School Library Data Digest, in early January 2013.

In the meantime, here are a few other quick 2011-2012 facts:

  • Total of 374 individual libraries in 180 districts/school systems:
    • 321 libraries in 145 public school districts
    • 1 library in 1 state special school system
    • 36 libraries in 21 nonpublic school systems
    • 16 libraries in 13 tribal/BIE school systems
  • Total school districts/school systems reporting no library by definition = 39
  • Total student population served by school libraries = 138,758
  • Total circulation of items = 6,091,688
  • Total certified school librarian positions = 155
  • Total number of students using school libraries each day = 35,609

For further information or questions about the 2011-2012 data and its implications, please contact Mary G. Johnson at email, or Joan Upell at email, or call the State Library at 800/423-6665.

The 2012-2013 School Library Survey will be open April 1-May 15, 2013. Remember to keep recording your interlibrary loan statistics so you have those ready to answer a few new survey questions.


More on school libraries, research and Common Core

Along with the Common Core State Standards and their emphasis on the fourth “R”, or research, comes the new assessment with the inclusion of performance tasks. The Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium has just released sample items that we encourage all school librarians to take a look at Under the performance task heading the site states, “Performance tasks will be used to better measure capacities such as depth of understanding, research skills, and complex analysis…"

How is the process of research being addressed in your school and in your school library? There is a wealth of material available in all formats to help guide instruction in this area. Here are just a few online examples:





21st Century, Common Core, research, school libraries, survey

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The Cornerstone monthly e-newsletter is created by the South Dakota State Library. For more information on how to be a part of this newsletter, please contact us via e-mail with your questions and ideas.