A cautionary tale: Mixed methods analysis of elementary school library folklore collections




Enochs, Elizabeth Lee

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Using mixed methods and framed in community psychology theory, this collection analysis study examined the folklore holdings of 77 elementary libraries in one large, urban school district in order to address three questions for research: What are features of elementary school library folklore collections? How is folklore used in elementary school instruction? and Do elementary school library folklore collections support instruction? Quantitative metrics for analysis included multiple linear regression, relative use factor, and Spearman s rho correlations. Most collections comprised 3.96% folklore titles, well below the 5% recommended in the literature. The majority of collections were 18 years old. Average folklore circulation accounted for 2.27% of total circulation. Age was not associated with the circulation of the folklore collection; however, size of the folklore collection predicted about 15% of circulation, and larger folklore collections circulated more than smaller. Semi-structured interviews with teachers from the schools in the quantitative sample furnished a narrative explaining teachers use of library folklore in instruction. Teachers use folklore to teach culture, math, and science. They provide classroom sets of folklore from the school library during close study of the genre. Merged with the quantitative findings, these interviews explained the need to care for older collections, to maximize the size of the folklore collection, and to select well-illustrated folklore titles spanning cultures and reading levels. A chief lesson from this cumulative collection analysis is that library collections are best analyzed in the context of the community where they are used.



Social sciences, Communication and the arts, Education, Folk tales, Folklore, Library collections, Mixed methods, Qualitative, Quantitative