Kindergarten–Middle School 6–12

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Talking Points for
School Libraries

17. Disadvantaged students have a better chance of succeeding academically when they attend schools with strong library media programs.

Quick Stats Supporting This Talking Point

The school library, when one exists, is for many disadvantaged children a major source of exposure to books, magazines, and the newer media—learning materials that stimulate their thinking, creativity, learning, reading, and enjoyment. Our survey data suggest that children from a lower socioeconomic stratum who have a school library obtain a higher mean MCAS score than do similar children from schools that do not have such a program. (Baughman 2000)

Better-funded school library media programs help to close the achievement gap for poor and minority students and poor and crowded schools. There is a positive relationship between total library expenditures in high schools and both PSAE reading scores and ACT scores of eleventh-graders persists, despite community income, per pupil spending, the teacher-pupil ratio, and student’s race/ethnicity. | (Lance, Rodney and Hamilton-Pennell 2005)

At the elementary level, four out of five schools (over 80 percent) with full-time librarians had more students [i.e., average or above] who earned proficient or above proficient test scores on the CAT5 tests for reading, language arts, and mathematics. Among [elementary] schools with only part-time librarians, two out of three (over 65 percent) had more high-achievement students—a lower proportion than for schools with full-time librarians, but a higher one than for schools with no librarian at all. Among the latter group of schools, fewer than three out of five (less than 60 percent) had more high-achievement students. | (Lance, Hamilton-Pennell and Rodney 2000)

In elementary schools with a certified (vs. non-certified) library media specialist, students have significantly higher achievement scores on the 4th grade ELA test. | (Small, Snyder and Parker 2008)