Library-media specialists do so much more than order books, organize materials, keep track of the stacks, teach research skills and keep the media in working order for classroom teachers. They are partners with classroom teachers in providing a comprehensive literacy program where the cognitive skills of reading and the affective attitudes toward reading are seen as tandem parts of literacy. Both are needed. If the autobiographies of these pre-service teachers are any indication of the memories of others who have experienced the impact of librarians, the classroom teacher is seen as the one who teaches students “how” to read, but the librarians are seen as a primary force in schools of developing a “love” of books and of reading… The library-media specialist is able to focus on literature and see the many ways that narrative and expository text can enrich the lives of individual children and classroom instruction of that content area. The partnership between the two professionals allows each to add a valuable part to every child’s educational experience.
The autobiographies affirmed that the librarian has helped to develop the love of books and the sense of connectedness that students need in order to “want” to read. This in turn leads to choice reading, vocabulary increase, higher fluency and the ability to demonstrate those skills in a variety of ways. The individuals in the role of librarian have a huge impact on this willingness and interest in reading.
Principals, teachers, library media specialists, and students recognize the connection between students academic achievement and the skills and knowledge students derive from the library media program… The program gives students research and information technology tools and skills that they can use in all content areas. It develops their critical thinking ability and opens their eyes to a wide range of resources and information. It increases interest in reading and excitement about learning.
In addition to being an instructional leader, the LMS of the five schools also serves as the technology integration leader… Being technologically proficient and knowledgeable about current and new technologies, the LMS is the motivating force behind the integration of technology into the curriculum. She facilitates integration by identifying electronic resources and tools for use with different curricular units.
Teachers view [library media specialists] as an indispensable source of ideas, help, and support and continuously seek their expertise. Teachers recognize that the assistance the LMS provides in identifying resources saves them countless hours. They are cognizant that even if they had the time, they would not have had the knowledge for identifying such an array of resources.
In the five programs visited, the library media specialists not only help teachers make their curriculum resource-rich, but work with teachers to revise existing units and develop new innovative units. The results of these efforts enhance the curriculum, refresh teachers, raise expectations, and increase student interest.
TAAS [Texas Assessment of Academic Skills] performance was associated with different library factors at each educational level. Library variables found to be important were: Elementary School [K/MS]:Library volumes purchased in 1999-00 per 100 studentsLibrary operational expenditures per studentLibrary computers connected to a modem per 100 studentsLibrary software packages per 100 studentsMiddle/Junior High [K/MS]:Identifying materials fo instructional units developed by teachersProviding information skills instruction to individuals or groupsHigh School [T]:Library staff per 100 studentsLibrary staff hours per 100 studentsLibrary hours of operation per 100 studentsVolumes per studentsCurrent subscriptions to magazines and newspapers per 100 studentsPlanning instructional units with teachersProviding staff development to teachers
The Texas Study demonstrated higher TAAS [Texas Academic Assessment of Skills] performance at all educational levels in schools with librarians than in schools without librarians. Over 10 percent more students in schools with librarians than in schools without librarians met minimum TAAS expectations in reading. On average, 89.3 percent of students in schools with librarians compared with 78.4 percent in schools without librarians met minimum TAAS expectations in reading.
Where networked computers link school libraries with classrooms, labs, and other instructional sites, student earn higher PSSA reading test scores. These higher scores are particularly linked to the numbers of computers enabling teachers and students to utilize:the ACCESS PENNSYLVANIA database;licensed databases; andInternet/World Wide Web.
Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA) reading scores increase in the following characteristics of school library information programs: staffing, information technology, and integration of information literacy into the curriculum.