CEC Theses and Dissertations


Breaking Down the Barriers To Public High School Library Participation in Kentucky's Statewide Multitype Library Network

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Information Science


Center for Computer and Information Sciences


School librarians have consistently been faced with the challenge of meeting the diverse needs of their users with limited or inadequate resources. multi-type library networking was found to be one way for school librarians to be able to provide the necessary materials for their patrons, but school librarians do not participate as actively in multi-type library cooperative organizations as do other types of librarians. This was also true in Kentucky where only 12% of the public high school librarians had joined the Kentucky Library Network (KLN). The five basic factors found to have contributed to the exclusion of school libraries from multi-type library networks were psychological (including attitudes), political and legal, funding, communication, and planning factors. These five factors were identified in the 1978 landmark study, The Role of the School Media Program in Networking. The purpose of this study was to determine if these factors were preventing public high school librarians in Kentucky from joining the state library network and if so, to devise a plan to break down the specific barriers caused by these five factors.

This study was based on a random sample of 85 public high school librarians in Kentucky from a population of 284. Each librarian from this group was mailed a one page questionnaire to help identify the specific barriers that prevented these school librarians from joining the KLN. There were 56 usable surveys returned with a response rate of 67%. All 34 high school librarians, excluding the author, who were KLN members were also surveyed to determine how they had overcome barriers to participating in the state's multi type library network. There were 29 surveys returned with a response rate of 85%.

Next, the author compiled figures to show a breakdown of KLN membership by type of library and then compared network membership by type of library in six other states. In Kentucky, school libraries make up 17% of the KLN membership; this compares to a low of 3% in Georgia's network and a high of 68% in the New Jersey Library Network. All five factors that act as barriers to networking were found to be present in Kentucky. Specific barriers caused by these factors which prevent Kentucky high school librarians from participating in the state library network were identified, and recommendations were offered to overcome them.

Recommendations to overcome these barriers included the following: a publicity campaign composed of posters and brochures; more newsletter and journal articles aimed at the high school librarian; telephones for all school libraries; and using the technology money that is part of the Kentucky Education Reform Act to pay the first year dues for all high school libraries not currently KLN members. Also, it was further recommended that part of this technology money be used to purchase the necessary computer hardware for high school libraries to access OCLC. It was also recommended that school administrators be informed about the benefits of KLN through workshop sessions at their annual summer conference and through informational brochures. Other recommendations were the purchasing of fax machines for all high school libraries and mandating membership in KLN as a requirement for the Department of Educations’ Merit Rating. Within 5 years the researcher envisioned a minimum of 50% of Kentucky's high school libraries becoming KLN members and having the necessary equipment to access OCLC. If more school librarians join the KLN and put their holdings in the KLN database, then all school libraries in the state will benefit from having much greater access to materials needed by their patrons.

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