New study reaffirms link between school librarians, academic achievement

Contact: Andy Bridges
ALA Washington Office
For Immediate Release
February 22, 2008

New study reaffirms link between school librarians, academic achievement

WASHINGTON — Language test scores in New York State schools with certified librarians are higher than in those schools without librarians, according to preliminary research findings from Syracuse University's School of Information Studies.

The research was conducted on schools giving the English Language Arts test, which is administered by New York State to fourth graders and tests several language skills, including reading, writing, and listening. These preliminary findings indicated a 10-point increase of test scores in schools with library media specialists.

"Syracuse's results prove yet again how important school libraries and certified school library media specialists are in the education process," said ALA President Dr. Loriene Roy, "and why legislation like the SKILLs Act is so important for the future of our Nation's children and would solve the crisis facing school libraries."

Library advocates across the nation have been pushing tirelessly for the Strengthening Kids' Interest in Learning and Libraries (SKILLs) Act, which would place a state-certified school library media specialist in every school in America. The SKILLs Act would be included in the reauthorization of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), which is being considered in Congress right now.

"Many people don't realize it," Dr. Roy continued, "but there are many, many schools in America without school librarians, which is so tragic because so many studies, including this one now, have affirmed the link between school libraries, certified school library media specialists, and student academic achievement."

According to the New York Library Association, "certified school library media specialists are currently not mandated at the elementary level in New York State, but they are at the secondary level (grades 7-12). There are currently 568,924 students in K-12 schools who do not have access to a certified school library media specialist."

More information on the research results is available at