Kindergarten-Middle School Talking Point #13

A library media center should be staffed by an endorsed library media specialist

A library media center should be staffed by an endorsed library media specialist who is involved not only in identifying materials suitable for school curricula, but also in collaborating with teachers and others in developing curricula. This involvement in the instructional process helps to shape a larger—and, presumably, more appropriate—local collection. Students who score higher on norm-referenced tests tend to come from schools where this instructional role is more prominent.

A strong LM program is one:

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 is adequately staffed, stocked, and funded. Minimally, this means one full-time library media specialist (LMS) and one full-time aide. The relationship, however, is incremental; as the staffing, collections and funding of LM programs grow, reading scores rise. whose staff are actively involved leaders in their school’s teaching and learning enterprise. A successful LMS is one who has the ear and support of the principal, serves with other teachers on the school’s standards and curriculum committees, and holds regular meetings of the LM staff. Students succeed where the LMS participates with classroom teachers and administrators in making management decisions that encourage higher levels of achievement by every student whose staff have collegial, collaborative relationships with classroom teachers. A successful LMS is one who works with a classroom teacher to identify materials that best support and enrich an instructional unit, is a teacher of essential information literacy skills to students, and, indeed, is a provider of in-service training opportunities to classroom teachers. Students succeed where the LMS is a consultant to, a colleague with, and a teacher of other teachers. 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.

Reading scores are higher where librarian-teacher collaboration is considered essential

At the middle school level, the percentage of students with advanced reading scores was 12.6% higher for schools with administrators who considered librarian-teacher collaboration (in design and delivery of instruction) essential (vs. less than essential).

Collaborative Planning and Instruction correlated with student academic achievement

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.

Conditions for libraries to optimize the correlation with student achievement

Thus, based on this study, for library media programs to optimize the correlation with student academic achievement, the following conditions should be in place: develop, implement and assess a strong library media program in collaboration with the school community; have a solid collection that supports the curriculum; provide optimal access, including flexible scheduling; plan and teach in collaboration with classroom teachers; obtain concrete administrative support; and participate actively in learning communities.

Highly effective school libraries have a common set of characteristics

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: a state-certified, full time, library media specialist in the building the availability of para-professional staff who undertake routine administrative tasks and free the library media specialist to undertake instructional initiatives and reading literacy initiatives a library program that is based on flexible scheduling so that library media specialists and classroom teachers can engage in collaborative planning and delivery of information literacy instruction an active instructional program of information literacy integrated into curriculum content, and targeted towards learning curriculum content and skills a school library that meets resource recommendations of 15-20 books per child the provision of professional development on information literacy and technology literacies to the teaching faculty a budget allocation of $12-$15 per student per year to ensure currency and vitality of the information base a strong networked information technology infrastructure that facilitates access to and use of information resources in an and out of school

In exemplary library programs, the teacher-librarian takes a broader educational role

Key to a truly exemplary library program was that the teacher-librarian took on a broader educational role within the school, providing support for classroom teachers through partnering and collaboration, supporting all students through shared teaching and cross-cirricular support or integration of curriculum.

Libraries Impact Student Learning

… [R]esearch proves that successful, well-staffed school library programs with a focus on collaboration do have a positive impact on student learning.

Library media specialists help teachers make their curriculum resource-rich and develop new units

In the five programs visited, the library media specialists not only help teachers make their curriculum resource-rich, but work with teachers to revise existing units and develop new innovative units. The results of these efforts enhance the curriculum, refresh teachers, raise expectations, and increase student interest.

Library media specialists working with teachers benefits students

When library media specialists work with teachers to support learning opportunities with books, computer resources, and more, students learn more, get better grades, and score higher on standardized test scores than their peers in schools without good libraries

Library-media specialists are partners with classroom teachers

Library-media specialists do so much more than order books, organize materials, keep track of the stacks, teach research skills and keep the media in working order for classroom teachers. They are partners with classroom teachers in providing a comprehensive literacy program where the cognitive skills of reading and the affective attitudes toward reading are seen as tandem parts of literacy. Both are needed. If the autobiographies of these pre-service teachers are any indication of the memories of others who have experienced the impact of librarians, the classroom teacher is seen as the one who teaches students “how” to read, but the librarians are seen as a primary force in schools of developing a “love” of books and of reading… The library-media specialist is able to focus on literature and see the many ways that narrative and expository text can enrich the lives of individual children and classroom instruction of that content area. The partnership between the two professionals allows each to add a valuable part to every child’s educational experience.

Students scored highly on reading and language arts if administrators highly assessed ICT standards

Schools at every grade level tended to have more students scoring at the advanced level on both reading and language arts if their administrators had assessed highly the teaching of ICT [Information and Communications Technology] standards. This is perhaps the most important finding of this study, because those self-assessments also tend to coincide with administrators placing a high value on key library-related practices and desiring that their libraries play certain roles. Those practices include:flexible scheduling of library access,instructional collaboration between teachers and librarianprovision of in-service professional development to faculty by librariansregular meetings between principal and librarian,the librarian serving on school committees, andthe librarian’s instructional role being addressed in teacher hiring interviews.Notably, librarians credentialed as library media specialists (LMSs) were more likely than their non-LMS counterparts to report at least weekly activities associated with these practices. Indeed, LMS librarians were three times as likely as non-LMS librarians to report at least weekly instructional collaboration and provision of in-service professional development.

Higher reading scores for elementary schools whose school libraries:

Fourth grade reading scores tend to be higher for Michigan elementary schools whose school libraries report:higher numbers and weekly hours of total library staff and librarians in particular;being open more hours per week;library staff spending more time on motivating readers, developing collections, meeting with other librarians, teaching information literacy skills, and planning with teachers;larger collections of print volumes and video materials and, to a lesser extent, audio materials and software packages;more availability of computers—both in the library and throughout the school—that provide links to Access Michigan, library catalogs and licensed databases, and the Internet and the World Wide Web;more group visits, more individual and group visits for information literacy instruction, and higher circulation per week; andspending more on library operations.

School librarians are instructional consultants

School librarians are instructional consultant from whom classroom teachers can learn of more numerous, more authoritative, and more current books, articles, and databases than they would ever find on their own. While elementary and middle school library staff typically spend only two or three hours per week helping to improved instruction in this way, it appears to be making a difference in reading performance at those grade levels (increases of almost eight and seven percent, respectively). The payoff of this type of librarian-teacher cooperation is more students meeting or exceeding ISAT writing standards at those grade levels (almost 10 and 13 percent, respectively.)

School Librarians Weave Together Curriculum and Information Literacy Skills

By acting as a teacher, instructional partner, information specialist, and program administrator, the school librarian can weave together content curriculum and information literacy skills in ways that benefit teachers and students

School library media specialists in “A” elementary schools:

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.

Seventh grade reading scores rise with school library variables

For Michigan middle schools, seventh grade reading test scores usually rise as school libraries report:high numbers and weekly hours of librarian and total library staff;offering more weekly hours for flexible access/scheduling;librarians spending more time planning and teaching cooperatively with classroom teachers, and providing in-service training to teachers;larger collections of print volumes and video materials;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;more frequent individual and group visits to the library; andspending more on library operations.

Significant positive correlations between English Language Arts CST scores and library staff services

At the fourth grade level, there were significant positive correlations between English Language Arts CST [California Standards Test] 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... At the eighth grade level, there were also fourteen services that were significantly related to English Language Arts CST scores, with the three strongest being communicating proactively with principal, offering a program of curriculum-integrated information literacy instruction, and total services…

Students whose library media specialists played an instructional role achieve higher test scores

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

Library variables affects test scores at all educational levels

TAAS [Texas Assessment of Academic Skills] performance was associated with different library factors at each educational level. Library variables found to be important were: Elementary School [K/MS]:Library volumes purchased in 1999-00 per 100 studentsLibrary operational expenditures per studentLibrary computers connected to a modem per 100 studentsLibrary software packages per 100 studentsMiddle/Junior High [K/MS]:Identifying materials fo instructional units developed by teachersProviding information skills instruction to individuals or groupsHigh School [T]:Library staff per 100 studentsLibrary staff hours per 100 studentsLibrary hours of operation per 100 studentsVolumes per studentsCurrent subscriptions to magazines and newspapers per 100 studentsPlanning instructional units with teachersProviding staff development to teachers

Library use differs between successful and unsuccessful schools

… [T]he results indicated that the way libraries were used differed between successful and unsuccessful schools. Successful schools schedule more class time in the library, spend more time allowing students to check out materials, have more individual student research hours, offer more time for reading incentive programs like Accelerated Reader, are used more frequently by faculty members for professional growth and classroom support, and are open more hours beyond the school day.

The teacher-librarian was considered a key teacher

One of the benefits of partnering cited by the teachers was that each teacher could bring his or her own strengths to the partnership. Similarly, teachers assisted each other in building skills in areas where they themselves may be less knowledgeable. The teacher-librarian was considered a key teacher who was knowledgeable in many fields, could see the big picture and was capable of tapping into many resources inside and outside the school.

The school library is a classroom and a welcoming place of learning

Vitally important is the vision of the library as a classroom and a welcoming place of learning. The teacher-librarians are leaders in their school and outstanding teachers. Both the library and the teacher librarian are recognized as playing a critical role in supporting the educational outcomes of the school. In schools with these types of libraries, students reported high levels of satisfaction and engagement with their libraries and they were active readers. The majority wanted to have more opportunities to use the school library.