By Jeff Murphy, July 1, 2019
WARRENSBURG, MO – Rene Burress, a University of Central Missouri faculty member, and Matthew (Matt) King, a graduate student at UCM, were honored by the oldest library association in the world, the American Library Association, during the group’s 2019 national conference, June 20-25 in Washington, D.C.
Burress is an assistant professor and coordinator of the Library and Information Services (LIS) program at UCM. She was honored as recipient of the ALA Jesse H. Shera Award for research design of her doctoral dissertation, which she worked on as a Ph.D. candidate at Emporia State University, Kansas. King, is employed at Discovery Elementary School in the Orchard Farm School District in St. Charles, Missouri and is pursuing an Education Specialist in Human Services/Learning Resources at UCM. He was one of 50 individuals recognized as an “ALA Emerging Leader.”
According to information released by the ALA, Burress’ dissertation is titled “School Libraries and Every Student Succeeds Act: A Qualitatitve Study.” The goal of this study is to provide an understanding of the decision-making processes related to the ESSA and plans at both the state and local levels to provide information that will assist school library interest groups in future lobbying and advocacy efforts.
Burress’ case study approach gathers data from ESSA plans, stakeholder feedback, and interviews with school library leaders. It employs Herbert Simon’s theory of bounded reality and Ronald Cervero and Arthur Wilson’s planning theory to examine state and local administrators’ decision-making and planning processes and practices related to their inclusion or exclusion in ESSA proposals for school library and school librarian funding.
Burress completed much of the preliminary research needed to ensure a successful study, according to ALA. It also notes, “This timely research has the potential to make an important impact on our profession.”
As a member of the 2019 Class of Emerging Leaders, King was the only representative of the class from Missouri. He joined other Emerging Leaders to participate in a daylong session that took place during the ALA 2019 Midwinter Meeting in Seattle, Washington. This session included orientation and training, and was followed with an online learning and networking opportunity for six months. The program culminated with a poster session at the ALA 2019 annual conference in which Emerging Leaders showcased the results of their project planning efforts. Emerging Leaders commit to taking part in all aspects of the program and have an opportunity to serve on an ALA division, chapter, roundtable, or affiliate committee or workgroup upon completion. King expects to graduate from UCM at the end of the fall 2019 semester.
The ALA was founded in 1876, and about 16,000 members attended the June conference. In fulfilling its mission, ALA is committed to providing “leadership for the development, promotion and improvement of library and information services and the profession of librarianship in order too enhance learning and ensure access to information for all.”