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        In September, 1996, I requested the help of elementary library
media specialists to participate in a survey concerning the
implementation and maintenance of flexible schedules in their library
media programs.  I received 11 participants from LM_NET and 6 other
participants for the Albany area.  Now that my seminar paper is done and
I have graduated with my MLS, I'd like to thank those who participated
and share my survey results.
        My study was conducted to determine what factors have contributed
to implementing and maintaing successful flexible scheduling in
elementary school library media programs already existing.  Seventeen
respondents met the criteria for this survey, being elementary
specialists who have gone through the process of implementing a flexible
scheduled library media program, and are still maintaining their program.
        The library media specialists participating in this study had a
good amount of experience in library media education.  Half have been
library media specialists for twelve years or more, and almost half had
fifteen or more years of experience.
        The average elementary school building ahd 526 students and
twenty-nine teachers.  Eighty-three percent of the respondents reported
having a full-time library media specialist and a full or part-time
clerical aide.  Parents comprised the majority of volunteer workers
within the centers.
        Sixty-one percent of all library media programs involved a
combination of flexible and fixed scheduling.  Fixed scheduling was most
often used for book circulation (73%), and class sessions with primary
grades (82%).  Cooperative planning only received 36% of the tally.
Kindergarten, first, second, and third grades were less involved in
flexible scheduling than the fourth, fifth, and sixth grades which had
one hundred percent involvement.
        Popular activities in the preliminary planning and research
stages of flexible scheduling included reviewing the professional
literature, reviewing the library media program's goals, objectives,
mission, and philosophy, and re-education both teachers and
administration (all at 76%).  Gaining teacher support was reported as the
most challenging aspect of implementation (88%), and similarly,
cooperative planning and evaluation of lessons with teachers was reported
as the most challenging aspect of maintaining flexible scheduling (67%).
Maintaining teacher support received 56% of the vote.  Covering teacher
prep time, however, was not an issue for 80% of the respondents.
        Regarding administrative support, the respondents felt that
communication of the purpose and benefits of flexible scheduling (89%),
as well as support, encouragement, and recognition of successful results
of curriculum integration and cooperative planning (94%), were paramount
in implementing and maintaining a flexible library program.  Seventy-two
percent also felt that allowing time for staff development and
cooperative planning were necessary.  The respondents indicated, however,
that these and other actions, including the use of library media
resources and cooperative planning in evaluating teachers' competencies
and hiring new teachers, as well as allowing time for cooperative
planning, were not always carried out satisfactorily.
        Maintaining effective communication with administrators and
teachers (83%), planning and evaluating lessons cooperatively with
teachers (72%), and integrating information skills for students at all
grade levels (61%) were given the highest priority in successfully
maintaining a flexible scheduled program.  Respondents felt, though, that
more training should be done at the college and university levels to
educate teachers and administrators about the role of the library media
program, the library media specialist, and flexible scheduling (78%).
Fifty-six percent also felt that there should be more LM articles in
professional journals read by administrators and teachers, and 44% said
developing an informal network of LM specialists who share experiences
about flexible scheduling and offer advice would be beneficial to the
field.  Words of advice reflected the need to patiently persevere and
prepare oneself for a frustrating and busy, yet worthwhile experience
utilizing flexible scheduling.

Pam Standhart
School of Information Science and Policy
University at Albany
Internet:  ps4160@cnsvax.albany.edu

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