Exploring OER Curation and the Role of School Librarians

Project Start Date: 

ISKME is working with Florida State University School of Information (iSchool) on a two-year research project, Exploring OER Curation and the Role of School Librarians. The project is focused on conducting case studies with school librarian participants, and school leaders, across five states, CA, FL, MI, NH, and WA, to understand their digital curation practices and workflows, particularly around the use of Open Educational Resources (OER).

The overarching goal of the project is to explore school librarians’ roles in digital curation in the K-12 environment, and specifically with OER, and to create a framework and set of practical recommendations that can serve to advance effective use of digital resource collections to enhance teaching and learning. The project’s findings and framework will be widely disseminated among school and district leaders, librarians, teachers, and policymakers to validate and to serve diverse local needs.

Informed by ISKME's prior and ongoing work with school librarians, by working with partners in the field of librarian preparation and professional learning, and by research in the field, the project is focused on the need among K-12 librarians to be prepared to take on key leadership roles to address informational and instructional resource needs in schools and communities.

The project builds on learnings from ISKME’s current three-year IMLS NLG project, School Librarians Advancing STEM Learning (2014-2017), which is developing a model and articulating the competencies for elevating the school librarian role as an instructional leader through the curation and use of OER. Findings from this project to date have revealed a concrete set of professional learning impacts from the OER curation and implementation activities that school librarians facilitated through the project, including increased understanding on how librarians and teachers can effectively collaborate in creating curriculum materials, and the development of strategies for building student knowledge and skills called for in their state learning standards.

Given the growing demand for equitable access to high quality, no- and low-cost, flexible digital content, understanding the role of school librarians around OER curation, and how to best model and support their efforts, has never been more urgently needed.

The research is funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), which is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 35,000 museums.

Our Role: 

In answering the project’s research questions, ISKME will conduct in-depth case studies with 30 school librarians across five states who are identified leaders in OER collection building to document, test, and iterate on a framework for OER curation and curation workflows that can be leveraged nationally in future contexts. The study will further solicit ongoing feedback on the emerging curation framework from the 30 case study librarians, as well as from 20 additional school librarians and 50 teacher peers, and a wider set of field experts and stakeholders, to iteratively refine and validate the framework. Interviews and site visits with 15-20 district leaders in each state will also be conducted as part of this study to assess the ways that district and school contextual factors support and promote the role of school librarians as digital curators, and to inform the relationship and interdependencies between local curation practices and district-level policies.

Image Attribution: 
Research Questions: 


What does OER curation look like for participating school librarians?

What workflows and practices help us to understand how school librarians are using OER as part of their digital curation efforts?

What core competencies and values for school librarianship are emerging related to OER curation?