High School (Teen) Talking Point #12

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.

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

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.

FCAT scores are higher where:

In Florida high schools, FCAT [Florida's Comprehensive Assessment Test] scores are higher where:The library media center is staffed more hours per week.There are more certified library media specialists.There are more paid library media staff members.There are more interlibrary loans provided to other schools in the district.There are more visits to the library media center to use technologyThere are more networked computers in the school and more computers with Internet access.There are more computers in the library media center and more computers have Internet access.

High schools showed improved test scores where there was better library staffing

High schools showed even larger differences in test scores where there was better staffing:55.1% of students passed the FCAT [Florida's Comprehensive Assessment Test] reading test in higher scoring schools with library media staffing of 80 HPW [hours per week] or more, while only 37% passed in schools with poorer staffing.

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

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.

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.

Public libraries can help high schools prepare students for college or 21st century careers

Public libraries can help high schools prepare students for college or 21st century careers. High schools are struggling to provide the skills that students need if they are to achieve success in college and in today’s workplace. In a 2006 poll of over 400 companies, researchers found that “new entrants to the U.S. workforce generally disappoint those who would like to give them their first job. High school-educated workers lack the level of ability employers seek in everything from writing and work ethic to oral communication.” The most important skills cited by employers fall into the area of applied or “soft” skills: professionalism and work ethic, oral and written communications, teamwork and collaboration, and critical thinking and problem solving. These skills are also essential to college success.

Public libraries create a bridge for teens across the digital divide

Public libraries create a bridge for teens across the digital divide. High-speed Internet access is increasingly necessary for full participation in educational, cultural, and employment opportunities. Students from low-income families are less likely to have adequate Internet access than their wealthier peers. In its most recent report on Internet access, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration of the U.S. Department of Commerce found that as income increases, higher percentages of Internet users have access to broadband service at home. Internet users with broadband access at home are also more likely to be daily Internet users (66.1%) than those without broadband at home (51.2%). Additionally, users without access to broadband service at home make up 90% of non-Internet users; of these, 75.3% of non-Internet users have no access to the Internet at home. This is a significant disadvantage when employers increasingly prefer (and some require) applicants to apply online. Access to the Internet is frequently a crucial step in the job search process. Further, in a 2007 study [Libraries Connect Communities: Public Library Funding and Technology Access Study 2006–2007], 73% of public libraries reported that they were the only source of free public access to computers and the Internet in their communities. Surveyed libraries said the three Internet services most critical to their community were online educational resources and databases for K–12 students (used by 67.7% of visitors); services for job-seekers (44%); and computer and Internet skills training (29.8%).

Public libraries play a particularly important role in providing Internet

Public libraries play a particularly important role in providing Internet access to minorities and teens in lower-income households. Sixty percent of teenagers who go online use public library Internet access. For example, in households earning $75,000 or more per year, 99% of teens use the Internet from home, while 74% go online from school, and 57% go online from a library. By contrast, in households earning less than $30,000 per year, just 70% of teens go online from home, but 75% have access at school and 72% go online at the library. “For many minority and lower-income teens, schools and libraries serve as a primary source of Internet access. While 93% of teenage Internet users go online from more than one location, schools and libraries serve as a primary source of Internet access for many minority and lower-income teens.”

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.

Students gain important critical thinking and career-building skills at the public library

Students gain important critical thinking and career-building skills at the public library. A survey of more than 430 human resource officials, conducted in 2006 by the New York City-based Conference Board, found that 72% rated recent hires as deficient in basic English writing skills, such as grammar and spelling, and 81% rated them as deficient in written communications more broadly, such as memos, letters, and complex technical reports. In a 2005 survey conducted for the National Association of Manufacturers, 84% of respondents said schools were not doing a good job preparing students for the workplace, with more than half citing specific deficiencies in mathematics and science and 3% citing deficiencies in reading and comprehension. The lack of applied or “soft” skills—everyday social skills, work ethic, verbal and nonverbal communications, attendance, interview abilities, time and workload management, working productively with others, and attitude—dominated the complaints of business leaders. People who score higher on “measures of complex problem-solving, critical thinking, creativity, and fluency with ideas have higher mean earnings in the labor market, across all levels of education.”

School library helps students' learning process

Delaware, 2005: 98.2% of students were helped in their learning process by the school library when they had access to a full-time librarian, information literacy instruction, flexible scheduling and networked ICT [Information and Communications Technology].

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.

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.