With the unveiling in the United States of the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics that value inquiry, cross-curricular connections, and the use of technology in instruction, school librarians may be best positioned to collaborate with mathematics teachers to instill these practices into mathematics teaching and learning. However, the mathematics curriculum is often perceived as challenging or even impossible for librarians to connect with. Consequently, such collaboration is often not pursued by either party. This paper examines the factors that shape or hinder collaboration between school librarians and mathematics teachers. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with mathematics teachers, school librarians, and school leaders in four middle schools in a highly resourced school district in the mid Atlantic region of the United States. We find several factors that influence the nature and opportunities for collaboration, including: perception; comfort with technology; institutional structures; testing pressure; and knowledge about mathematics teaching and learning. Our analysis reveals pivotal transformations that need to take place in order to strengthen the collaborative relationship between these two domains: (1) changes in the perceptions mathematics teachers and school librarians have of each other, and of various aspects of technology integration in mathematics teaching and learning and collaborative relationships; (2) enhanced structural support at the school district level; and (3) enhanced structural support at the school level to support collaboration. By examining the connections and contexts of these emerging themes from our study, we reveal the impact that school librarians can have in mathematics learning in middle schools.
© 2014 by Walter de Gruyter Berlin/Boston