On July 23, 2020, the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) announced a Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian grant to Antioch University Seattle (AUS) for a three-year research project entitled SLIDE: The School Librarian Investigation–Decline or Evolution?
Debra E. Kachel of AUS is the project director, and, as a consultant with the RSL Research Group, Keith Curry Lance, Ph.D., is the principal investigator.
This landmark study will investigate what is going on behind the data indicating a steady national decline in school librarian employment since the Great Recession. To what extent is it accurate? To what extent is something more complex going on?
Beyond analyzing available data, this study will interview staffing decision-makers in school districts that appear to have gained and lost the most librarians over recent years to learn what kinds of changes they are making, why, and how those changes are affecting reported numbers of librarians.
In addition to issuing reports, articles, infographics, social media posts, and videos, the project will create a dynamic website that provides interactive tools allowing users to extract, chart, and map data they select for geography they define.
The project is being supported by an Advisory Council of exemplary library and education leaders, national partners (Future Ready Schools and ISTE), and partners in all 50 states who will serve as intermediaries to districts selected systematically for study. The project will begin in September 2020.