Developing library classroom children’s
collections in English for a Catalunyan
Roxanne Myers Spencer
Educational Resources Center, Western Kentucky University Libraries, Bowling Green, Kentucky, USA
Purpose – Seeks to present a case study of librarians developing recommendations for a small collection of children’s literature in English to support
primary grades’ English-language curriculum for Col
legi SEK Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain and to brieﬂy describe development of intermediary library
classroom models to put the collection development process in context.
Design/methodology/approach – Visits on-site to target school and to selected regional schools and public libraries; development of a proposal to
target school administrators; reﬁnement of goals for project; selection aids for children’s literature titles and resources for recommendation to English
language primary teachers; provision of library organization and collection development skills workshop for English language teachers.
Findings – Roles and functions of school libraries in Spain differ in scope from the US model of the integrated school library media center. Most school
libraries visited were staffed by teachers who volunteered time. There was little formal instruction in information literacy at the schools and public
libraries visited. The US concept of a school library media center, with its integral role to the school’s curriculum, literacy, information literacy, and leisure
reading support, is not well known in Spain, although this is changing, due largely to an increased awareness of the need for information literacy
education in schools.
Research limitations/implications – Brief visits to target school and selected regional schools and libraries. European teaching models differ from
current US education strategies. Concepts of integrated roles of school libraries in Spain are beginning to gain momentum; legislative and
administrative support is slowly developing. There is great potential in such international collaborations, particularly between library higher education
and P-12 institutions. Adapting the US model of the integrated school library media center and its roles in literacy and information literacy holds great
promise for P-12 schools in Spain and other countries.
Practical implications – International collaborations increase awareness of diverse cultures’ similarities and differences, and lead to global
exchanges of ideas and programs. Target school in this case study will have a well-integrated English language library to support acquisition of English
language, literacy, and information literacy. The acquisition of these important literacy skills through a carefully developed library program can only
beneﬁt student achievement and foster international collaborations.
Originality/value – Research into the function and possibilities for improvement in school libraries in Spain has been the subject of research among
practitioners in Spain since the 1990s, but little of this research is known internationally. The original research and unique and timely implementation of
this case study, though small in scope, has wide implications for school libraries internationally.
Keywords School Libraries, Children (age groups), Literature, English language, Spain
Paper type Case study
... the essential ingredients of a school library are evident: a place, a
collection, a person, and a program (Knuth, 1999, p. 35).
This article will describe the process of developing
recommendations for a small collection of children’s
literature in English (for pre-kindergarten through grade 6)
to support the English-language curriculum and encourage
reading and language acquisition skills for Col
Catalunya, a private parochial school near Barcelona, Spain.
Additional information on the development of intermediary
library classroom models (in the absence of a functional
school library media center) will be brieﬂy described to put
the collection development process in context.
legi SEK Catalunya is a P-12 private school, one of
several in the Institucio
n Educativa SEK (www.sek.es) in
Western Europe, and is situated in the Montseny Hills just
outside the town of La Garriga, Spain. Sra. Mariela Gomez,
the English Language Consultant at SEK Catalunya, recently
approached faculty at Western Kentucky University to
develop a school library program for the school. I, Roxanne
Myers Spencer, assistant professor and coordinator,
Educational Resources Center, and my colleague, Dr
Cynthia Royden Houston, assistant professor, Library
The Emerald Research Register for this journal is available at
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available at
24/4 (2005) 117–123
q Emerald Group Publishing Limited [ISSN 0160-4953]
Received: July 2005
Reviewed: July 2005
Accepted: July 2005