SLJ Seeks Data Journalist for Project
School Library Journal
School Library Journal, an award-winning national publication, is seeking a data journalist to work with two library professionals to research and shape on a story about patterns of school librarianship hiring/employment across the country.
The state of school librarianship
Two library researchers have compiled and analyzed data from the National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES) showing a loss of school librarians nationwide since 2010. The data also reveals a net positive change in other positions. For instance, the number of instructional coordinators has risen, as has the number of administrators.
We are seeking a data journalist to help us identify other data sources that could help inform and contextualize this research. For instance, librarians may be migrating to other school positions, including those having to do with instructional coordinators. If they are not staying in schools, we would like to know where they are going. Also, we would like to find out if they are taking other teaching positions within schools.
School Library Journal’s own technology survey shows a rise in tech funds for librarians; how does this dovetail with the broader picture? We might consider spotlighting one region as a case study, looking at student test scores and other factors relating to librarianship statistics.
Another question has to do with naming: modern school librarians are often called “media literacy experts” or other titles foregrounding their tech expertise. Is this reflected in the data? In addition, we know that there are often long-vacant positions for school librarians—districts are trying to hire, but can’t find qualified candidates in their region. Locating more recent statistics could help illuminate this.
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