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.
When LM predictors are maximized (e.g., staffing, expenditures, and information resources and technology), CSAP [Colorado Student Assessment Program] reading scores tend to run 18 percent higher in fourth grade and 10 to 15 percent higher in seventh.
Students at schools with better funded LMCs [Library Media Centers] tend to achieve higher average test scores, whether their schools and communities are rich or poor and whether adults in the community are well or poorly educated.
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.
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.
…[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.
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.
At the elementary level, all other library program elements—hours open, collection size, budget, and total technology—were significantly, though weakly, related to English Language Arts CST scores in all bivariate and partial correlations.
At the high school level… [t]he relationship between English Language Arts CST scores and library services was very similar in strength to that of U.S. History CST scores… The strongest bivariate correlations included total services… providing teachers with information about new resources and informally instructed students in the use of resources…
At the fourth grade level, there were significant positive correlations between English Language Arts CST [California Standards Test] scores and fourteen library staff services. The two strongest associations were with informal instructing students in the use of resources and communication proactively with principal... At the eighth grade level, there were also fourteen services that were significantly related to English Language Arts CST scores, with the three strongest being communicating proactively with principal, offering a program of curriculum-integrated information literacy instruction, and total services…