Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Kay A. Keiser


This study builds on Rioux’s 2010 social justice metatheory in the library sciences as it looks at the practices of school librarians in the areas of collection development, policies, and instructional practices. The mixed methods study demonstrates that school librarians act as agents of social justice in the collection of materials based on diversity, inclusion, vantage points, and international viewpoints. The policies of unrestricted access to library materials, access to digital and print formats, critical reflection, school library as a safe haven, advocating for the freedom to read, and facilitating students to read a variety of materials were also examined. Additionally, the instructional practices of teaching all students, valuing democracy, challenging social inequities, and exploring global problems were surveyed. Seventy-three public school librarians in a Midwestern U.S. city answered survey questions pertaining to their social justice agencies. In comparing the social justice responses of secondary and elementary librarians, the survey found secondary librarians had an overall higher social justice mean score than elementary librarians. Both secondary and elementary librarians ranked having the library as a safe haven for students as an area of strong agreement. Access to a materials in all formats, diversity, and variety of materials were also in the top five for both instructional levels. Exploring global problems and international viewpoints were in the bottom four agreement categories for both educational levels. This study affirms Rioux’s assumption that providing information services is an inherently powerful activity. As the role of school librarians continues to shift due to educational advances and informational realities, a social justice framework is of value both in theory and practice. Social justice is the past, present, and future of school libraries.


A Dissertation Presented to the Faculty of the Graduate College of the University of Nebraska in Partial Fulfillment of Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Education. Copyright 2017 Stephanie A. Burdic.

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