, Volume 59, Issue 3, pp 77–84 | Cite as

The Online School Librarian: Roles and Responsibilities

  • Dennis Beck


Children across the United States of America are maturing in a media-saturated society. Unfortunately, this often results in poor content choices and evaluative skills. North American schools have attempted to address this problem through information literacy skills. One role key to teaching these skills is the role of the school librarian. Unfortunately, although much research is available on this role in traditional schools, little research was found on the school librarian’s role and responsibilities in a fully online school. In this study, two online school principals were interviewed regarding skills required to teach information literacy; who in their school was responsible for teaching these skills and how these skills were taught. Results indicate that although there is much potential for teaching information literacy in a fully online school, the reality often falls short due to a chopping up of school librarian duties into tasks assigned to several individuals.


cyber school information literacy online school school librarian virtual school 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. ALA/AASL Standards for Initial Preparation of School Librarians (2010). Retrieved January 19, 2015 from
  2. Bathon, J. & Baker, B. D. (2013). School finance 2.0: Flexible financing for a virtual world. Boulder, CO: National Education Policy Center.Google Scholar
  3. Beck, D., Maranto, R., & Lo, W. J. (2013). Parent involvement and student/parent satisfaction in cyber schools. In McBride, R. & M. Searson (Eds.) Proceedings of Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education International Conference (pp. 229–236). Orlando, FL: AACE.Google Scholar
  4. Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO). (2013, June). National charter school study. Palo Alto: CREDO, Stanford University. Retrieved January 19, 2015, from
  5. Church, A. P. (2005). Virtual school libraries—the time is now! MultiMedia & Internet@Schools, 12(2), 8–12.Google Scholar
  6. Clark, T. (2001). Virtual schools: Trends and issues. A study of virtual schools in the United States. WestEd: Phoenix, AZ.Google Scholar
  7. Clark, T. (2001). Virtual schools: Trends and issues, a study of virtual schools in the United states. San Francisco: WestEd. Retrieved January 19, 2015 from:
  8. Common Core State Standards Initiative (2010). Common core state standards for English language arts & literacy in history/social studies, science, and technical subjects. Retrieved on January 17, 2015 from
  9. Eastin, M. S., Yang, M.S., & Nathanson, A. I. (2006). Children of the net: An empirical exploration into the evaluation of Internet content. Journal of Broadcasting and Electronic Media, 50, 211–230.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Eisenberg, M. B., & Berkowitz, R. E. (2000). Teaching Information & Technology Skills: The Big6 [TM] in Secondary Schools. Linworth Publishing: Worthington, OH.Google Scholar
  11. Everhart, N., Mardis, M. A., & Johnston, M. (2011). National board certified school librarians’ leadership in technology integration: Results of a national survey. School Library Media Research, 14.Google Scholar
  12. Fedorowicz, J., Vilvovsky, S., & Golibersuch, A. J. (2010). Gender differences in teenagers’ elective use of computer technology. Communications of AIS, 27, 27–44.Google Scholar
  13. Glass, G. V.,Welner, K., & Bathon, J. (2011). Online K-12 schooling in the U.S.: Uncertain private venture in need of public regulation. Boulder, CO: National Education Policy Center.Google Scholar
  14. Goodman, K. S., & Goodman, Y. M. (1982). A whole language comprehension-centered view of reading development. DOCUMENT RESUME ED 218 649 CS 207 072, 300, 125.Google Scholar
  15. Hargittai, E., Fullerton, L., Menchen-Trevino, E., & Thomas, K. Y. (2010). Trust online: Young adults’ evaluation of web content. International Journal of Communication, 4, 468–494.Google Scholar
  16. Hasler-Waters, L., Barbour, M. K., & Menchaca, M. P. (2014). The nature of online charter schools: Evolution and emerging concerns. Educational Technology & Society, 17(4), 379–389.Google Scholar
  17. Hoffman, J., Bertot, J. C. & Davis, D. M. (2012). Libraries connect communities: Public library funding & technology access study 2011–2012. Digital supplement of American Libraries. Retrieved on January 16, 2015 from
  18. Hubbard, B., & Mitchell, N. (2011). Troubling questions about online education. Colorado: EdNews.Google Scholar
  19. Hughes, A. E. (2013). Tailoring instruction for students in online and distance learning environments. In P. Ragains (Ed.), Information Literacy Instruction that Works: A Guide to Teaching by Discipline and Student Population, (87–95). American Library Association.Google Scholar
  20. Kovacs, P. E. (2011). The Gates Foundation and the Future of US “Public” Schools (Vol. 5). Taylor & Francis.Google Scholar
  21. Kuiper, E., Volman, M., & Terwel, J. (2005). The Web as an information resource in K–12 education: Strategies for supporting students in searching and processing information. Review of Educational Research, 75(3), 285–328.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Lamb, A., & Johnson, L. (2008). The virtual teacherlibrarian: Establishing and maintaining an effective web presence. Teacher Librarian, 35(4), 69–71.Google Scholar
  23. Lance, K. C. & Hofschire, L. (2013). The impact of school libraries on academic achievement. In M. J. Dow (Ed.) School Libraries Matter, (65–77). Santa Barbara, CA: Libraries Unlimited.Google Scholar
  24. Lenhart, A., Purcell, K., Smith, A., & Zickuhr, K. (2010). Social Media and Young Adults, Washington, DC: Pew Internet & American Life Project. Retrieved on Janaury 16, 2015 from
  25. Lim, S., & Kwon, N. (2010). Gender difference in information behavior concerning Wikipedia, an unorthodox information source? Library & Information Science Research, 32, 212–220.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Livingstone, S. (2004). Media literacy and the challenge of new information and communication technologies. The Communication Review, 7(1), 3–14.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Livingstone, S., Bober, M., & Helsper, E. (2005). Internet literacy among children and young people: Findings from the UK Children Go Online Project.Google Scholar
  28. Maranto, R. (2005). A tale of two cities: School privatization in Philadelphia and Chester. American Journal of Education, 111(2), 151–190.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Minnesota Office of the Legislative Auditor, September 2011, K-12 Online Learning Evaluation Report Summary.Google Scholar
  30. Miron, G., & Urschel, J. (2012). Understanding and improving full-time virtual schools. National Education Policy Center. Retrieved January 19, 2015 from
  31. Pew Internet & American Life Project. (2008). Teens, video games, and civics. Retrieved January 16, 2015 from Civic s_Report_FINAL.pdf.pdf
  32. Queen, B., & Lewis, L. (2011). Distance Education Courses for Public Elementary and Secondary School Students, 200910. US Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Institute of Education Sciences.Google Scholar
  33. Ritter, G. W. (2012). Internal evaluation of the Arkansas virtual academy school. University of Arkansas. Retrieved January 19, 2015 from
  34. Strauss, A. & Corbin, J. (1998). Basics of Qualitative Research: Grounded Theory Procedures and Techniques. Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  35. Tucker, B., Dillon, E., & Jambulapati, P. (2011). Ohio E-Schools: Learning from their experience. Education Sector. Retrieved January 19, 2015 from
  36. Wang, H., & Woodworth, K. (2011). Evaluation of Rocketship education’s use of DreamBox Learning’s Online Mathematics Program. Center for Education Policy: Menlo Park.Google Scholar
  37. Wathan, C. N., & Burkell, J. (2002). Believe it or not: Factors influencing credibility on the web. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 53(2), 134–144.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Watson, J., Pape, L., Murin, A., Gemin, B., & Vashaw, L. (2014). Keeping pace with K-12 digital learning: An annual review of policy and practice. Evergreen Education Group.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Association for Educational Communications and Technology 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of ArkansasFayettevilleUSA

Personalised recommendations