Educational Role of the Library

Library Media Program Activities Associated with Higher Reading Scores

In Alaska, the percentage of students scoring proficient or above on reading tests was higher for schools with more hours per typical week of professional librarian staffing; more staff time spent weekly delivering information literacy instruction to students, planning cooperatively with teachers, and providing in-service training to teachers; collection development policies that address the issue of reconsideration requests or challenges to library materials; computers with modem capability (to access the Internet); and a relationship—formal or informal—with the public library. In addition to these direct predictors of test scores, the Alaska study identified one series of relationships worthy of note: Schools with more librarian staffing spend more time teaching information literacy, resulting in more student visits to library media centers and, in turn, higher reading scores.In Pennsylvania, higher average reading scores for schools were associated with the presence of school librarians with more hours per week of support staff; higher expenditures on the library media program; larger collections of information resources (e.g., books, periodical subscriptions, Access Pennsylvania and other databases); more computers, both in the library media center and throughout the school, that provide access to information resources (e.g., licensed databases, the Internet); and spending more library media staff time integrating the teaching of information literacy into the school's curriculum and approach to addressing academic standards (8-9).

Library Media Program Development Correlates with Academic Achievement

In all four states, the level of development of the LM [library media] program was a predictor of student performance. In all four states, data on staffing levels correlated with test scores. In Pennsylvania, Colorado, and Oregon, additional data on collections and expenditures were predictive of reading scores. Where LM programs are better staffed, better stocked, and better funded, academic achievement tends to be higher (7).

Library Media Program Development Correlates with Academic Achievement

In all four states, the level of development of the LM [library media] program was a predictor of student performance. In all four states, data on staffing levels correlated with test scores. In Pennsylvania, Colorado, and Oregon, additional data on collections and expenditures were predictive of reading scores. Where LM programs are better staffed, better stocked, and better funded, academic achievement tends to be higher.

Academic work would suffer without library sources

Seventeen percent of the readings [respondents] obtained from the library would not otherwise be obtained if they were not available from the library. This is a lost opportunity, and the value of the academic work would suffer if the library sources were unavailable. In addition, if the library were unavailable, the respondents stated that they would expect it would take them more time and money to obtain the information from another source (p. 3).

Public libraries could have a greater impact on early literacy through focusing on educating parents

ALSC [Association for Library Services to Children] and PLA [Public Library Association] concluded that public libraries could have an even greater impact on early literacy through an approach that focused on educating parents and caregivers. If the primary adults in a child’s life can learn more about the importance of early literacy and how to nurture pre-reading skills at home, the effect of library efforts can be multiplied many times.

Librarian’s expertise in selecting and using materials is unique

The librarian’s expertise in selecting and using materials is unique. The librarian is not an early childhood educator, but—by training and experience—the librarian is equipped to nurture the young child’s curiosity through his interest in stories and books. Moreover, the goals of the profession give librarians a vested interest in the child’s development of language and reading skills.

Public library programs offer wonderful opportunities for promoting school-readiness skills in children

Public library programs offer wonderful opportunities for promoting school-readiness skills in children and creating positive associations with books while showing parents how important these skills are and how to reinforce them at home.

Increased Importance of Libraries Amongst Users

The National Library of Finland coordinated a customer survey for users of research and special libraries as well as public libraries in 2010. The first national online questionnaire was conducted in 2006. The number of responses rose by 56% compared to the previous survey. In the public library sector, over 80% of the users agreed that the library services had supported their cultural and literary interests. Around 80% of the university and university applied sciences library users thought that libraries had helped to improve the quality of their work and studies, the same was true for 71% of the special library respondents. In all libraries, the staff's willingness to provide assistance was one of the most important factors affecting the quality of service. In terms of their service attitude, libraries were assessed as having succeeded as well or even slightly better than two years ago.

Public Libraries adding to Maryland community development

Forty-three percent stated that having a public library move into a community would help attract businesses to the area, and 78 percent believed that public libraries improve a community by helping people learn new skills so they can get better jobs. A whopping 98 percent felt that public libraries help people learn new things no matter what their age.

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