School library

Schools Perform Better on Tests Where There Are Better-Funded School Libraries

Across grade levels, schools tended to perform better on the ISTEP+ [Indiana Statewide Testing for Educational Progress-Plus] tests where there were better-staffed, better-stocked, and better-funded school library programs.

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 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.

Scores averaged higher, if principals considered it essential for:

At the elementary school level, the percentage of students with advanced scores averaged higher, if principals and other administrators considered it essential (vs. less than essential) for:the librarian to provide in-service professional development to faculty (20.6% for the language arts, 17.8% for reading);the librarian’s instructional role to be addressed in teacher hiring interviews (22.0% for language arts, 17.4% for reading)the librarian to be appointed to school committees (16.8% for language arts, 13.8% for reading); andthe librarian and the principal to meet regularly (15.6% for reading only).

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.