Kindergarten–Middle School 6–12

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Talking Points for
School Libraries

18. Students learn how to evaluate and use information—not just how to find and access it—from school library media specialists.

Quick Stats Supporting This Talking Point

At the fourth grade level, there were significant positive correlations between English Language Arts CST scores and fourteen library staff services. The two strongest associations were with informal instructing students in the use of resources,… and communication proactively with principal… (Achterman 2008)

Typically, responding middle school libraries report 18 group visits per week, eight of which are for information literacy instruction…
For middle schools that have more group visits, and especially more group visits for information literacy instruction, eighth-grade ISAT writing performance averages more than 10 and almost nine percent, respectively, better than for schools with libraries visited less often. (Lance, Rodney and Hamilton-Pennell 2005)

… [T]he Library Usage component included the library use time of typical students. This component contained nine variables.
This analysis shows that the Library Usage component was significantly correlated with student achievement, represented by the Overall Weighted Average Map Index, when other variables were not present. (Quantitative Resources et al 2004)

Overall, the qualitative responses of the participants collectively show the contribution of school libraries to the development of the whole child. The school library is portrayed as an agency for intellectual development, for social and cultural growth of students as they grow up in a complex and diverse information world. According to the evidence provided by the school librarians, the school library works to meet core content standards, to develop a wide range of information handling competencies and to provide students with the intellectual and technical scaffolds they need to learn and be ethical and productive users and consumers of information.
School librarians in New Jersey clearly do engage in a range of information literacy instruction initiatives. This instruction primarily centers on knowing about the school library, knowing about difference sources and formats, with sound levels related to understanding the different strategies in doing effective research, learning how to use the resources, evaluating information for quality, and learning to use information ethically. (Todd, Gordon and Lu 2010)

Librarians and library programs appear to positively influence students’ research-skills development and motivation for research and inquiry, particularly in the use of information technologies such as databases and the Web. (Small, Shanahan and Stasak 2010)

… [T]he school library plays an important role in helping students determine the quality of information, particularly with the availability of information, misinformation and disinformation on the Internet. 92.8% of student indicated help in this aspect.
The data of this study show that the school library considerably helps students know how to use the different information sources, and the different purposes of these sources in the research process. The students, both in terms of managing projects to completion, and accessing quality information, value this instructional intervention. (Todd and Kuhlthau 2003)

Principals, teachers, library media specialists, and students recognize the connection between students academic achievement and the skills and knowledge students derive from the library media program… The program gives students research and information technology tools and skills that they can use in all content areas. It develops their critical thinking ability and opens their eyes to a wide range of resources and information. It increases interest in reading and excitement about learning. (Smith and EGS Research & Consulting 2006)

Library media specialists play an essential role in the learning community by ensuring that students and staff are efficient and effective users of ideas and information. (Scholastic 2008)

Students whose library media specialists played an instructional role—either by identifying materials to be used with teacher-planned instructional units or by collaborating with teachers in planning instructional units—tend to achieve higher average test scores. | (Lance, Rodney and Hamilton-Pennell 2000a)

Ninety percent of the students recognized that the school library had helped to boost their confidence as proficient information seekers and users, enabling them to work independently; 91.8 % of the students appreciated the school library’s help regarding working out the most important information, and sorting and analyzing information. | (Todd 2005)

Library media specialists have an important role to play regarding the use of technology to support teaching and learning in their schools. Seventy-four percent of respondents provide guidance to students in the use of digital resources at least once a week. | (Small, Snyder and Parker 2008)

School library media specialists in “A” elementary schools

  • Are more likely to work with individuals visiting the media center than with groups.
  • Spend more time planning for lessons taught independently of teachers.
  • Spend more time working collaboratively and teaching with teachers.
  • Spend more time involved in reading incentive activities and programs.
(Baumbach 2003)

… [H]aving an accessible high-quality collection correlates positively with reading comprehension and vocabulary, but it is not sufficient for overall academic achievement as measured by API scores. For that latter to occur, teaching and administrative principles also need to be implemented. (Farmer 2006)

Collaborative planning and instruction accounted for 17.7 percent of the variance in principles correlated with student academic achievement. The individual principles included: collaborative planning (the single most important factor within that factor), modeling effective teaching, integration of information literacy, facilities for learning, program planning assessment of student academic achievement, administrative support, and communication about the program. (Farmer 2006)