School library

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

Schools with larger library collections averaged higher scores

Elementary schools with larger library collections in [periodical and video collections] averaged 67 to 73 percent of students scoring proficient or advanced and 9 to 11 percent scoring unsatisfactory. Schools with smaller library collections averaged 61 to 67 percent scoring proficient or advanced and 12 to 14 percent unsatisfactory.

Better-funded elementary school libraries averaged a majority of students scoring proficient or advanced

Elementary schools with better-funded libraries averaged 68 to 72 percent of students scoring proficient or advanced and 9 to 10 percent scoring unsatisfactorily. Schools with more poorly-funded libraries averaged 62 to 67 percent scoring proficient or advanced and 12 to 14 percent unsatisfactory.

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.

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.

Correlations Between Test Scores and the Instructional Roles of Libraries

Strong correlations between test scores and the instructional roles regularly provided by library media specialists at the high school level also offer some indicators for certified staff and their administrative supervisors about how to allocate library work time. Providing reference assistance, instructing students in research strategies, use of resources and information literacy; and communicating proactively with the principal were among those activities that were most strongly related to student achievement.

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.

Library factor was a strong predictor of U.S. History scores

At the high school level, the library factor accounted for 19% of the variance in English Language Arts CST scores and 21% of the variance in U.S. History CST scores. In both cases, Beta weights indicated that the library factor was a stronger predictor of scores than other school variable; in fact, the library factor was stronger than either school or community factors in predicting U.S. History CST scores.