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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Responsibilities of provincial departments of education for school library service Bell, John Charles

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to analyze the present status of the responsibilities assumed by Canada's ten provincial departments of education for school library service. The study was limited to an examination of the nature and extent of the legal bases of provincial department of education responsibilities for school library service; the personnel employed by departments for service to school librarians and school libraries; the duties performed by these personnel; the principal areas of responsibilities and services for school librarians and school libraries in departments of education; the methods by which these responsibilities and services are put into practice by each department; and the strengths and needs of departments of education in giving service to school librarians and school libraries. Data for each education department was obtained through the use of a closed-form questionnaire. An instrument developed in 1959 by the United States Office of Education for a survey of the status of state department of education responsibilities for school libraries was adapted for use with provincial departments of education in this investigation. The questionnaire was administered during interviews held with members of the staffs of ten departments of education during the summer of 1971. Completed questionnaires were received from all departments in the fall of 1971. Frequency counting was used in analyzing and tabulating the quantitative and qualitative data reported. The results of the study show school library service to be a constituent part of provincial department of education responsibilities. Ten departments of education have legal responsibilities for school libraries and all departments perform services relating to them. Laws and regulations pertaining to these responsibilities apply to all provincially-supported elementary and secondary schools, and also, in one province, to non-provincially-supported elementary and secondary schools. Certification, guidelines (standards), supervision, statistics, research, the provision of information, and co-operation for school library development are the major categories of department of education responsibilities for school library service. Basic responsibilities, such as effecting co-operation for school library development and collection of school library statistics, are fulfilled in a greater number of departments than other areas of service. All provinces provide some form of financial aid to local school authorities for the development of school library service. One full-time person is employed in the central office of eight departments of education for the supervision of school libraries. Other personnel having some responsibilities related to school library service in all departments include deputy ministers of education and assistants, certification officers (registrars), directors of teacher education, curriculum or subject supervisors, audio-visual supervisors, research officers, school plant officers, and finance officers. School library specialists employed by departments of education spend the highest percentage of their time on field services and the lowest on attending meetings out of province. Statements by these officers reveal that major needs of departments of education in giving service to school librarians and school libraries include: 1. increased staff; 2. integration of school library and audio-visual service units; 3. more co-operative planning involving the department of education and local school boards; 4. improvement of publications and research; 5. increased provincial grants to local school authorities; and the 6. updating of standards and certification regulations. The results of the study indicate, in summary, that provincial departments of education have broad responsibilities for the development of school library service and are fulfilling them to some extent. Insufficient personnel and inadequate budgets, however, are curtailing their programs for the development of this service. The data received and reported in this study will, it is hoped, provide a base for further research studies and assist departments of education in giving leadership for the development of school library service in Canada.

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