Kindergarten–Middle School 6–12

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Talking Points for
School Libraries

19. Students and their teachers make more effective use of the Internet and other digital resources after learning about them from school library media specialists.

Quick Stats Supporting This Talking Point

It is clear from the findings that there are some highly effective school libraries in Delaware—school libraries that are strongly integrated into the learning fabric of the school and which contribute to student learning outcomes. These school libraries have a common set of characteristics [including] a strong networked information technology infrastructure that facilitates access to and use of information resources in an and out of school. (Todd 2005)

Library media specialists (LMSs) exert a complex web of effects on the LM programs. Findings about these effects are summed up in the following description of a strong LM program. A strong LM program is one ... that embraces networked information technology. The library media center of today is no longer a destination; it is a point of departure for accessing the information resources that are the essential raw material of teaching and learning. Computers in classrooms, labs and other school locations provide networked access to information resource—the library catalog, electronic full text, licensed databases, locally mounted databases, and the Internet. Students succeed where the LM program is not a place to go, apart from other sites of learning in the school, but rather an integral part of the educational enterprise that reaches out to students and teachers where they are. (Rodney, Lance and Hamilton-Pennell 2002)

At every grade level, schools with more library and library-connected computers—particularly, in the latter case, Internet computers relative to the school’s enrollment—average higher test scores. The presence of more library computers is associated with percentage increases of:

  • 8 percent for fifth-and-eighth grade ISAT reading performance,
  • almost 11 percent for eighth-grade ISAT writing performance
  • just over 5 percent for eleventh-grade ACT scores.
(Lance, Rodney and Hamilton-Pennell 2005)

Fourth grade and seventh grade reading scores tend to be higher for Michigan schools whose school libraries report access to more library and school computers that connect to Access Michigan, library catalogs and licensed databases, and the Internet and the World Wide Web. (Rodney, Lance and Hamilton-Pennell 2003)

Technology was a component of School Library Media Center Services… [T]his component was composed of six variables concerning technology availability and usage. This analysis shows that the component of Technology 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)

The school libraries in the high-performing schools spent over two and a half times as much money per 100 students on electronic access to information (e.g., online database searching, Internet access) than did those in the low-performing schools. (Burgin, Bracy and Brown 2004)

School librarians in New Jersey clearly take a strong instructional role in the providing students with the intellectual and technical scaffolds to engage with information technology in efficient and productive ways. Teaching search strategies, both in relation to the internet and specialized databases, library catalogs and directories, is given the most widespread emphasis. It is particularly encouraging to see the early adoption and integration of a range of web 2.0 technologies, tools and techniques to support curriculum content standards. This is highly commendable. (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. Principals often perceive their librarian as the technology leader in the school. Librarians have an impact on both teachers’ and students’ technology use. (Small, Shanahan and Stasak 2010)

84.9% of the students indicated that school library computers help them do their school work better… Two key features stand out in the students’ comments. First, students see a clear relationship between being able to access information through information technology, and achievement, in research assignments and projects. Second, the instructional intervention of the school librarian in developing students as effective users of information technology to search for information, and the development of students as discerning evaluators of web information plays a role in achieving good grades. (Todd and Kuhlthau 2003)

… [H]igher and lower scoring elementary schools are distinguished by the amount of time school library staff spend in teaching students and teachers how to access and use print and electronic information resources. At higher achieving schools library staff spend three days on such activities for every two by lower achieving schools… At higher achieving schools at all grade levels, library staff are involved in committees and provide in-service training to teachers. Library staff at lower achieving schools usually do not engage in these activities at all. (Lance, Rodney and Hamilton-Pennell 2000b)

Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA) reading scores increase in the following characteristics of school library information programs: staffing, information technology, and integration of information literacy into the curriculum. (Lance, Rodney and Hamilton-Pennell 2000b)

Where networked computers link school libraries with classrooms, labs, and other instructional sites, student earn higher PSSA reading test scores. These higher scores are particularly linked to the numbers of computers enabling teachers and students to utilize:

  • the ACCESS PENNSYLVANIA database;
  • licensed databases; and
  • Internet/World Wide Web.
(Lance, Rodney and Hamilton-Pennell 2000b)

TAAS performance was associated with different library factors at each educational level. Library variables found to be important were:
Elementary School:

  • Library volumes purchased in 1999-00 per 100 students
  • Library operational expenditures per student
  • Library computers connected to a modem per 100 students
  • Library software packages per 100 students
Middle/Junior High:
  • Identifying materials for instructional units developed by teachers
  • Providing information skills instruction to individuals or groups
(Smith and EGS Research & Consulting 2001)

In addition to being an instructional leader, the LMS of the five schools also serves as the technology integration leader… Being technologically proficient and knowledgeable about current and new technologies, the LMS is the motivating force behind the integration of technology into the curriculum. She facilitates integration by identifying electronic resources and tools for use with different curricular units. (Smith and EGS Research & Consulting 2006)

Schools with a greater number of library and school computers with catalogue access, and schools with a greater number of library computers with Internet access were more likely to be higher achieving schools. Libraries at high performing schools had 52% more computers with Internet access and nearly twice as many computers with library catalogue access. Even more profound, high performing schools offered nearly three time as many computer with school-wide library catalogue access than low performing schools. (Haycock 2011)

The successful schools in the present sample had more print volumes, more magazine subscriptions, more electronic subscriptions, more video materials, more reference titles on CD-ROM, and more student software packages available for student use. (Roberson, Schweinle and Applin 2003)

Effective school libraries are much more than books. They are learning hubs, each with a full range of print and electronic resources that support student achievement. (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, Shanahan and Stasak 2010)

In Florida’s elementary schools, FCAT scores are higher where:

  • There is a certified, university-trained library media specialist.
  • The total number of paid staff is higher and there are more hours per week of staffing.
  • Circulation is higher.
  • Schools have access to the library media center catalog through the school’s computer network.
  • There are more books and videos.
  • There are more computers in the library media center and those computers provide Internet access.
  • There are more non-print materials purchased from the school budget.
In the middle schools, FCAT scores are higher where:
  • There are more certified, university-trained school library media specialists and the library media center is staffed more hours per week.
  • More materials are circulated.
  • There are more videos in the collection and more reference materials on CD-ROM.
  • More computers in the library media center provide access to the Internet.
(Baumbach 2003)

Library networking (human and electronic) accounted for 8.2 percent of the variance in principles correlated with student academic achievement. The individual principles included: LMS meetings and library networking. (Farmer 2006)