National Test Scores Prove Need for School Librarians

Contact: Andy Bridges
ALA Washington Office
For Immediate Release
October 11, 2007

National test scores prove need for School Librarians

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Education's recently released national test scores further confirm the need for a library in every school staffed by a state-certified school library media specialist.

According to the results of the test - the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) - with only a few exceptions, reading and math scores have remained flat for the years under No Child Left Behind, 2002-2007.

“This news comes as no surprise to school librarians, who know from both experience and from concrete data just how vital school libraries and librarians are to academic achievement,” said ALA President Loriene Roy. “More than 19 state studies show that school libraries that are well-stocked and well-staffed can and do raise test scores, especially reading test scores.”

“That's why the SKILLs Act is so important.”

The SKILLs Act would require that each school have a school library staffed by a state-certified school library media specialist. Introduced in June, the bill is vital to the future of today's school libraries and, therefore, student achievement.

"Not only do school librarians provide the necessary access to carefully-chosen literature and reading guidance for students' reading needs, which has an obvious and undeniable effect on test scores, "added Sara Kelly Johns, president of the American Association of School Librarians (AASL), "but they are also the teaching professionals who give students vital 21st century skills, empowering students to be critical thinkers, skillful researchers and ethical users of all the information available to them."

“Only about 60 percent of our school libraries have a full-time, state-certified school library media specialist on staff,” Roy continued. “The SKILLs Act would correct that, and would change the scores of national tests like NAEP for the better.”