Flexible Timetables

Statements from Professional Bodies

ALA / AAECT American Library Association & Association for Educational Communication and Technology Information power; Building relationships for learning 1998.

The cardinal premises on which learning and teaching within the effective school library program is based, include:

  • The library program is essential to learning and teaching and must be fully integrated into the curriculum.
  • The library program models and promotes collaborative planning, curriculum development, and teaching
  • Access to the full range of resources and services is fundamental to learning

ASLA & ALIA Learning for the future; developing information services in schools. 2nd ed. 2001 - Australian School Libraries Association and Australian Library and Information Association.

The takeup rate of flexible, needs-based library use in New South Wales was slow, both prior to and during the transition period in 1986-88. There was also a timidity in state administration's documentation. It is hard to know why. Perhaps Teacher-Librarians have respect for the culture and mindset of teachers. The school week has become increasingly crowded. Full flexibility may not always be feasible. It may not be as needed in early childhood, when the traditional weekly half-hour book exchange can meet needs.

Fortunately the literature points to mixed scheduling being as effective as flexible scheduling. Even if schools are unable, for any reason, to make a shift to flexible scheduling, there can be no argument that some degree of flexibility is essential if the school wants students to develop information literacy and have maximum access to needed resources (including some of the school's technology). All that is needed is semi-flexibility to reap the rich results.

Much research has been undertaken into the advantages of integrated library programs and achievement. Here is a summary of that research.

I9 June 2001

Abell reported on findings from Mapping literacy achievement: Results of the 1996 national school literacy survey. Higher levels of student achievement were associated with extensive use of the school library in Year 5.


(1994) found that sixth graders who did their research in an integrated social studies program had significantly higher scores than students who did their research in a non-integrated program.


(1995) found that a structured approach using intervention strategies gave Year 3 and Year 6 students 'a significant learning advantage' compared to students who did not have instruction of various critical thinking skills embedded in a complex problem solving task.


(1979) found that the development of student competence was most effective when classroom instruction was integrated with cooperative planning and team teaching by the teacher and Teacher-Librarians.


(1994?) concluded that test scores increase as Teacher-Librarians spend more time collaborating with teachers, and providing input into curricula. Not enough is known about the variables in these studies to apply the results to this context, ie. the RFF versus CPT debate, however similar findings are beginning to accumulate.


found that for Grades 2-5, reading scores began to climb as library use increased. For example the Grade 3 class which had the highest circulation and whose teacher had the most collaboration with the librarian had higher scores than another grade three class with low circulation and whose teacher had not collaborated with the librarian.


(1992, 1995) found in a Sydney school that integrating information skills into the Year 7 Science program resulted in improved test scores as well as information skills, improved recall, increased concentration and focus on the task, and improved reflective thinking. There also appeared to be an impact on students' attitudes to school, self-esteem, and their confidence to take charge of their own learning.


Abell, Jill 'The impact of the use of school libraries on student achievement' 027.8 School Library Bulletin 5/1, 1999
Bingham, J.E. A comparative study of curriculum integrated school library media programs, achievement outcomes of sixth-grade student research papers. Doctoral dissertation, Kansas State University, 1994
Brien, D.P. The teaching and learning processes involved in primary school children's research projects. Doctoral dissertation, University of New South Wales, 1995.
Callison H.L. The impact of the school library media specialist on curriculum design and implementation. Ph.D. Dissertation; University of Southern Carolina, 1979.
Lance, Keith Curry. 'The impact of school library media centres on academic achievement', School Library Media Quarterly, 22/3 1994 pp.167-172
Management Committee for the National School English Literacy Survey Mapping literacy achievement: results of the National School English Literacy Survey. Canberra; DEETYA, 1987 (cited by Abell)
Oberg, Dianne (1995), "Principal support; What does it mean to Teacher-Librarians?", in Sustaining the Vision, A selection of Conference papers, 24th International Association of School Librarianship Conference, 17-21 July 1995, Worcester College of Higher Education, Worcester, pp.17-25
Oberg, Dianne 'Demonstrating that school libraries improve student achievement'. Access 15/1/2001
Sivanesarajah, Yaso, McNicholas, Celeste and Todd, Ross 'Making sense of Science: An information skills approach ' Science Education News 42 Spring 1993 pp 25-27
Todd, Ross 'Integrated information skills instruction: does it make a difference?' School Library Media Quarterly 2/23 95
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