Kindergarten-Middle School Talking Point #14

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.

Strength of the Association Between Library Media Specialists and Student Achievement.

…[R]esults of this study indicate that as the overall percentage of library media specialists at a grade level increases, so does the strength of the association between school library program elements and student achievement.

Best Practices Include:

Other best practices include flexible scheduling and flexible access that allows for the maximum amount of authentic learning to take place in the media center, a wide and varied collection that supports the curriculum and promotes reading, and the presence of a certified school librarian who takes on leadership roles within the school to share expertise and help students flourish.

Characteristics of 21st century education

The characteristics of 21st century education have been articulated by many and continue to evolve. However, in order to achieve within this developing context and beyond, it is accepted that students need: Reading literacy Information literacy Technological literacy Skills for personal knowledge building Oral literacy and numeracy Research evidence from the USA, Canada and Australia shows that where school libraries are resourced effectively and managed by a qualified librarian with educational expertise, all of the above are fostered and student academic achievement on standardized tests is higher than in schools where these conditions do not exist.

Connection between student achievment and the presence of a qualified library media specialist

An abundance of evidence strongly supports the connection between student achievement and the presence of school libraries with qualified school library media specialists

Elementary school achievment is distinguished by the time school library staff spend teaching

… [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.

At schools with one full-time endorsed librarian, students score higher

For elementary schools that have at least one full-time endorsed librarian, the percentage of third, fourth, and fifth grade students scoring proficient or advanced in reading is consistently higher than for schools with lower staffing levels—a 4 to 5 percent absolute difference and a 6 to 8 percent proportional difference.

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 Florida’s elementary schools, FCAT scores are higher where

In Florida’s elementary schools, FCAT [Florida's Comprehensive Assessment Test] 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:

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.

Librarians are Uniquely Qualified to Teach the Information Literacy Skills

Librarians are uniquely qualified to teach the information literacy skills that are paramount in a knowledge-based economy. As their duties expand, it is more important than ever for stakeholders to view their LMS librarians as teachers, curriculum designers, technology gurus, and school leaders.

Libraries Affect CSAP Reading Scores

When LM predictors are maximized (e.g., staffing, expenditures, and information resources and technology), CSAP [Colorado Student Assessment Program] reading scores tend to run 18 percent higher in fourth grade and 10 to 15 percent higher in seventh.

Middle schools with higher library staffing received higher scores

At the middle school level, in higher scoring schools, 53.9% of middle schools with more than 80 HPW [hours per week] of library staffing scored at grade level or better while only 46.1% passed in schools with poorer staffing.

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.

Well-staffed school libraries are associated with high performance schools

School libraries managed by qualified professional staff and supported by clerical and volunteer staff were more likely to be associated with higher school performance. Libraries with more qualified school librarian hours, more paid clerical and technical staff hours, a larger number of volunteers and total number of staff were more likely to be associated with high school performance.

Schools with certified school librarians have higher language arts scores

Elementary students in schools with certified school librarians are more likely to have higher English and language arts (ELA) scores than those in school with noncertified school librarians.

Schools with the highest reading test scores have a full time librarian

Minnesota, 2003: 66.8% of schools with the highest reading test scores in grades 3-8 (ages 8-13) were where the librarian full time. Reading achievement was also related to increased school library programme spending.

Staff-Based Library Development correlated with student achievement

Staff-based library operations and development accounted for 9.6 percent of the variance in principles correlated with student academic achievement. The individual principles included: staffing levels (the single more important factor), library operations, funding, staff development, and LMS-led staff development.

Schools with well-resourced libraries score higher on standardised tests

[Keith Curry Lance’s] finding consistently report that students in schools with well-staffed, -stocked and -funded libraries score from 10% to 25% higher on standardised tests than students in schools with poorly resourced libraries. Furthermore, the more hours that the school library is open, the higher the achievement levels of the students.

Student Achievement correlates Librarian Qualifications

… The Librarian Qualifications component was computed by aggregating the relevant questions of the questionnaire. The questionnaire asked a series of questions pertaining to the highest level of education and certification the paid library staff had obtained. The component was composed of one variable for a librarians’ education and experience weighted by the work hours. This analysis shows that the Librarian Qualifications component was significantly correlated with student achievement, represented by the Overall Weighted Average Map Index, when other variables were not present.

Library staffing is associated with higher reading achievement

Library staffing is associated with an increase in grade 3 reading performance. The presence of trained library staff is associated with higher achievement in reading for grade 6 students.

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.

Elementary schools with full-time librarians had higher test score

At the elementary level, four out of five schools (over 80 percent) with full-time librarians had more students who earned proficient or above proficient test scores on the CAT5 [California Achievement Test/ 5th Ed.] tests for reading, language arts, and mathematics. At the secondary level, this trend is even more pronounced and more statistically significant. Nine out of ten schools (over 90 percent) with full-time librarians had more students who earned proficient or above proficient test scores.

Students with better staffed libraries score higher on the ACT

Students in better staffed programs [i.e., those with more library media specialists and more LMS hours] scored 8.4 to 21.8 percent higher on ACT English tests and 11.7 to 16.7 percent higher on ACT Reading tests compared to students in schools where library media programs had fewer resources.

Significant relationship between reading levels and endorsed librarian staffing

There is a positive and statistically significant relationship between advanced reading levels and endorsed librarian staffing trendsSchools that either maintained or gained an endorsed librarian between 2005 and 2011 tended to have more students scoring advanced in reading in 2011 and to have increased their performance more since 2005 (45% and 49%, respectively) than schools that either lost their librarians or never had one ( 33% and 29%). Conversely, schools that either lost a librarian during that period or never had one (33% and 39%) tended to have fewer students scoring advanced in 2011 and to have seen lesser gains—or indeed, losses—since 2005 than schools that maintained or gained a librarian (23% and 18%).

Negative relationship between unsatisfactory reading levels and endorsed librarian staffing

There is a negative and statistically significant relationship between unsatisfactory reading levels and endorsed librarian staffing trends.Schools that either maintained or gained an endorsed librarian between 2005 and 2011 tended to have fewer students scoring unsatisfactory in reading in 2011 (i.e., lower scores) (28% and 26%, respectively) and to have reduced that problem more since 2005 (i.e., lower increase) than schools that either lost their librarians or never had one (both at 34%). Conversely, schools that either lost a librarian during this period or never had one (32% and 34%) tended to have more students scoring unsatisfactory in 2011 and to have seen that problem increase more since 2005 than schools that maintained or gained a librarian (21% and 30%).Notably, schools with the largest percentage of lower unsatisfactory reading scores in 2011 and lower increases in that figure between 2005 and 2011 (34%) were those that gained an endorsed librarian during the interval. As with advanced reading scores, if an endorsed librarian is doing her or his job well, this is what one would expect.

Reading scores rise with a full-time endorsed librarian

In 2011, schools with at least one FTE [ full-time equivilent] endorsed librarian averaged significantly higher advanced CSAP reading scores (8% vs. 6%) and significantly lower unsatisfactory scores (9% vs. 11%) than schools with less than one FTE endorsed librarian [a library assistant or non-endorsed librarian]. 

Librarians positively correlate with reading scores with poverty as control variable

In this instance, both endorsed and non-endorsed librarians were positively correlated with advanced CSAP reading scores and negatively correlated with unsatisfactory scores. In other words, with poverty utilized as a control variable, both endorsed and non-endorsed librarians had positive and statistically significant correlations with reading scores. Notably, however, these relationships are stronger for endorsed librarians than non-endorsed ones. What did not change was the lack of relationship between non-endorsed library assistants working without a librarian and reading scores. Apparently, library assistants working without supervision do not have any impact on reading scores, either advanced or unsatisfactory.

Association of librarians with higher reading scores cannot be explained away by economic conditions

As in earlier state-level school library impact studies and the SLJ national study, the association of endorsed librarians with higher reading scores cannot be explained away by local economic conditions.

Research consistent: students perform better with an endorsed librarian

The research on school librarians and their association with students’ test scores is remarkably consistent in its findings: regardless of how rich or poor a community is, students tend to perform better on reading tests where, and when, their library programs are in the hands of endorsed librarians. Furthermore, at schools where library programs gain or maintain an endorsed librarian when school budgets get tight, students tend to excel. At schools where library programs lose or never had an endorsed librarian, students suffer as a result.