Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Secondary Education

Major Professor

Ann E. Barron


alternative certification, information power, professional development, school library media specialist


School impact media studies indicate that a well-staffed and funded school library media program with a certified school library media specialist (SLMS) positively correlates with increased student achievement. SLMS must have a shared understanding of their roles and responsibilities to positively impact student success. In an effort to determine prior knowledge and differentiated learning objectives, the method of certification is critical for planning professional development. This dissertation presents a multi-method investigation of differences between Alternatively Certified (AC) and Traditionally Certified (TC) SLMS as it relates to their perceptions of collaboration, leadership and technology described in Information Power: Building Partnerships for Learning (1998). The overall findings were used to generate recommendations for SLMS professional development.

Of 2350 total SLMS in Florida, 161 AC and 318 TC SLMS responded to an online job task analysis. The strength of association between method of certification and perceptions of job tasks under the three themes (collaboration, leadership, and technology) were compared using statistical analysis (i.e. variance, standard deviation, t-tests, chi-square tests, and ANOVA). Longitudinal comparisons were made between this study and baselines studies from 1996 and 2006. There were no significant differences between AC and TC overall perceptions of collaboration, leadership and technology as indicated by the job task analysis survey. Two tasks within collaboration and technology themes had large significant differences in AC and TC responses. TC SLMS were more

likely to "Assist students and/or teachers with general references services (e.g., answer reference questions)" and to "Evaluate the adequacy and suitability of facilities, equipment, materials, and services with regard to their impact on learning outcomes." TC SLMS were significantly more familiar with IP2, made more attempts to implement IP2, and attended more in-services on IP2.

Observations and interviews with two AC and two TC SLMS triangulated the survey data and explored questions related to professional development. Interview participants advocated for content developed by other SLMS and mentorship training. SLMS asserted that professional development should include school and county protocols, evaluation tools and methods, relevant and accessible technologies (i.e. school and district software, Student Information System, Library Databases Standards such as CORE Curriculum). The SLMS indicated a preference for the following professional development methods: SLMS designed and implemented professional development; formal and informal SLMS sharing; differentiation and options to opt-out based on prior experiences and expertise; relevant and accessible technology training; and mentorship. These findings inform ways to effectively recruit, train, certify, and differentiate instruction in SLMS programs and professional development courses. Furthermore, our qualitative findings indicate a need to examine the impact of reduced budgets on school library media programs. Future studies should investigate the impact of increased numbers of non-certified SLMS and cuts to library staff on student achievement and K-12 learning communities. While this study counted the total number of non-certified SLMS in addition to the AC and TC SLMS, results from the sample of non-certified SLMS collected during the job task analysis were not analyzed because it was too small for comparison or generalizability.