School library acquisitions policy: How it impacts the delivery of library services to middle school English language learners

Aurea L Galindo, University of Texas at El Paso

Abstract

The Del Sol Independent School District (DSISD) serves a student population totaling 64, 214 that includes a Hispanic population of eighty-two percent (DSISD, 2011). Of this total student population, 25.2 percent consists of English Language Learners (ELLs)—predominantly Spanish-speaking students (DSISD, 2011). Current DSISD library collection figures reveal that each campus library has an inordinate low number of Spanish materials. The district librarians are guided by an acquisitions policy that seemingly offers scant guidelines for acquiring books that address the information and literary needs of diverse student populations. ^ To this end, it is vital to examine and bring better understanding of how school librarians make decisions when ordering library materials that may impact the delivery of library services to Spanish-speaking ELLs. This study considers how school library acquisition policy may possibly affect the delivery of library services to middle school Spanish-speaking English Language Learners. ^ Utilizing a qualitative design and relying heavily on interviews in multiple settings, the study shows how school librarians make sense of the school district acquisitions policy and how they justify their acquisitions decisions. Moreover, the study also presents the middle school ELLs' experience in their respective libraries, how they perceive the delivery of library services, and how they make meaning and sense of their respective library Spanish collections. ^ The analysis of the study revealed that the ELLs' feelings and opinions about the importance of their respective library Spanish collections varied between campuses. Their sentiments concerning the library Spanish collections had much to do with the degree to which they value their home language. The manner in which the ELLs perceive the delivery of library services was more explicit. Overwhelmingly, they are quite appreciative of their respective librarians and purport the services as being caring, useful, and helpful at all three campuses. The study also revealed that the school librarians' interpretation of the policy does not allow for developing the Spanish collection because acting as "street-level bureaucrats" (Lipsky, 2010), they make broad discretionary decisions about acquiring library books to appease teacher requests at the expense of Spanish-speaking library patrons. Moreover, acting as "street-level bureaucrat," they want to serve individuals, but end up serving collectively due to teacher requests. Ostensibly, the manner in which the librarians interpret the district acquisitions policy has an impact on the delivery of service provided by the librarians. Providing fair and equitable library service would be an effective means to assure impartial availability of services and equitable access to library materials, particularly in campuses with significant ELL populations. ^ More emphasis should be placed on how librarians serve their community of patrons and how they engender a feeling of trust, welcomeness, and acceptance. As responsible and conscientious librarians they are obligated to uphold the philosophy of intellectual freedom as it concerns a person's access to all library materials. There should be a certain degree of diligence in making sure that the diversity of library collections not be limited and in this manner inclusiveness and not exclusiveness should be the standard in collection development. Recommendations for these serious issues are directed in the conclusion of this paper.^

Subject Area

Library Science|Education, English as a Second Language|Education, Leadership

Recommended Citation

Galindo, Aurea L, "School library acquisitions policy: How it impacts the delivery of library services to middle school English language learners" (2013). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI3568481.
http://digitalcommons.utep.edu/dissertations/AAI3568481

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