Towards Consensus on the School Library Learning Environment: A Systematic Search and Review


  • Barbara Schultz-Jones, PhD University of North Texas
  • Michelle Farabough, MS
  • Rachel Hoyt, MS Plano Public Library



Learning environment, Learning commons, Constructivism, School library, Evaluation


The school library as a learning environment has been described by some as a dynamic domain where dedicated professionals and students engage collaboratively in an active and evolving educational climate. Although the field of classroom learning environment research can be charted internationally over the past several decades, journal article literature fails to consistently and coherently identify specific aspects of the school library learning environment and methods to evaluate outcomes. A systematic search and review of the literature using the learning environment as the primary search term revealed a set of 10 elements associated with this concept but few evaluation methods. Clearly defining school library learning environments could aid in the development and evaluation of school libraries as places where librarians and teachers transform and influence student lives and learning.

Author Biographies

Barbara Schultz-Jones, PhD, University of North Texas

Barbara Schultz-Jones, PhD, has been an Associate Professor and the Director of the School Library Program in the College of Information at the University of North Texas in Denton, Texas, USA since 2007. She is an active member of ALA, AASL, IASL and IFLA. She completes her term as Chair of the IFLA School Library Section in August, 2015. She leads study abroad projects to optimize automation systems, programs and services in school libraries, including projects in Thailand, Albania, Ukraine, Peru, Russia, Germany and Czech Republic.

Michelle Farabough, MS

Michelle Farabough has worked for over 20 years as an information management and marketing consultant in Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA. For the past two years she has served as a teaching assistant in the College of Information, Department of Library and Information Science at the University of North Texas. She is currently an interdisciplinary information science doctoral student focusing on knowledge sharing and social network analysis in health care information environments.

Rachel Hoyt, MS, Plano Public Library

Rachel Elizabeth Hoyt has worked as a Youth Services Librarian at Plano Public Library in Plano, Texas, USA since 2014. She has a Master’s degree in Library Science and is currently attending the University of North Texas in pursuit of a doctorate degree in Information Science. Research interests include learning commons and maker spaces in public and school libraries.