Illinois

Majority of all adult age groups use the public library

Reported household usage of the public library varies by the respondent’s age group. Eighty-eight percent of 18–34 year olds (born 1976 to 1992) reported that they and/or someone in their household used a public library in 2010, prior to their interview. Among those 35–54 (born 1956 to 1975) 84% of households report public library usage. A lower percentage of households (70%) used the public library among those aged 55 or older (born before 1956).

Library media specialists provide in-service opportunities at high performing schools

Four out of five responding library media specialists reported the occurrence of various activities on at least a weekly or monthly basis. These included: teachers asking the library media specialist for instructional design resources (78%). Three out of five reported … teachers asking for help in learning new information-seeking skills (57%). About half of library media specialists reported that, on a weekly or monthly basis, they provide in-service learning opportunities to teachers (48%). Across grade levels, better-performing schools tended to be those whose principals placed a higher value on having their library media specialist provide in-service opportunities to classroom teachers (65.57% passing for essential or desirable vs. 50.63% passing for acceptable or unnecessary—a proportional increase of 29.5%).

Better-funded school library media programs help to close the achievement gap

Better-funded school library media programs help to close the achievement gap for poor and minority students and poor and crowded schools. There is a positive relationship between total library expenditures in high schools and both PSAE reading scores and ACT scores of eleventh-graders persists, despite community income, per pupil spending, the teacher-pupil ratio, and student’s race/ethnicity.

High schools with more library visits, 11th grade ACT scores higher

…[R]esponding high schools report 16 weekly group visits, 10 of which are for information literacy instruction… For high schools that average more individual and group visits as well as more group visits for information literacy instruction, eleventh-grade ACT score gains averaged three to five percent over schools with less frequently visited libraries.

ACT scores higher for schools spending more on their libraries

At the high school level, ACT scores average almost seven percent higher for schools [that] spend more on their libraries compared to those that spent less.

ACT scores increase when librarians collaborate with teachers

The wider spectrum of activities involved in true collaboration between school librarians and classroom teachers demonstrates an impact at the high school level, particularly through the links between those activities and eleventh-grade test scores. On a weekly basis, at the typical responding high school, library staff spends:three hours identifying materials for teacherstwo hours planning with teachers,one hour motivating students to read,one hour teaching with teachersalmost an hour serving on school committees, andhalf an hour meeting with library staff from another school or districtWhen library staff spends more time on these activities, ACT scores increase an average of three to four percent over the scores for schools with less collaborative library staff.

Schools with More Library Computers Average Higher Scores

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 performancealmost 11 percent for eighth-grade ISAT writing performancejust over 5 percent for eleventh-grade ACT scores.

There is a relationship between library spending and writing performance

Between the elementary and middle school levels, there was a similar increase in the strength of the relationship between library spending and writing performance. Elementary schools that spend more on their libraries average almost 10 percent higher writing performance, and middle schools that invest more in their libraries average almost 13 percent higher writing levels.

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.)

More library visits result in higher writing averages

Typically, responding middle school libraries report 18 group visits per week, eight of which are for information literacy instruction… For middle schools that have more group visits, and especially more group visits for information literacy instruction, eighth-grade ISAT [ Illinois Standard Achievement Test] writing performance averages more than 10 and almost nine percent, respectively, better than for schools with libraries visited less often.
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