Research Methods for Information Research

6. Practitioners as researchers

6.3 Children as researchers

Teachers I meet when I’m observing in schools are often curious about how the school library is really used, largely because they are too busy teaching to find out for themselves. However, there is another route to finding out. A few years ago a group of children at a primary school were asked to keep the diary of their school library and this resulted in a creative and revealing picture. Something of the overall flavour can be picked up from this extract (one of several that we included in our report on ‘The effective school library’16):

A normal day

9.04 am Jennifer, Maurice, Roger and Caroline have brought books back. They are putting them back in the right place … They are looking for new books now.

9.38 am Hannah, Mary and Virginia are working on the ‘Water Cycle’. They are looking at my books. Well done girls …

12 noon Dinner time. Margaret is reading ‘The Jenius’ by Dick Kingsmith. I love that book. Mrs. Lincoln read it to us.

12.10 pm Linda and Suzanne are playing chess. That’s strange, Rohena and Di are wearing slippers. I’m turning into a bedroom …

2.10 pm Playtime and it’s noisy. Loads of children are reading out loud all at the same time.

2.25 pm Mr Head’s showing some visitors in here. I wish I was tidy.

2.40 pm Christine’s looking for a book about clothes. Anthony and Lorraine are working on book posters …

3.15 pm I wonder where the Librarians were today? I wonder if Mrs Lincoln knows?

16. STREATFIELD, D.R. and MARKLESS, S. Invisible learning? The contribution of school libraries to teaching and learning Library and Information Research Report 98 London: The British Library 1994. Extract reproduced by permission of Holywell Green Primary School, Halifax, West Yorkshire.