… [T]he results indicated that the way libraries were used differed between successful and unsuccessful schools. Successful schools schedule more class time in the library, spend more time allowing students to check out materials, have more individual student research hours, offer more time for reading incentive programs like Accelerated Reader, are used more frequently by faculty members for professional growth and classroom support, and are open more hours beyond the school day.
The successful schools in the present sample had more print volumes, more magazine subscriptions, more electronic subscriptions, more video materials, more reference titles on CD-ROM, and more student software packages available for student use. In the area of technology, the successful schools had more than twice the number of computers in their libraries; 14 compared to 5.27. Among the successful schools, more than twice as many computers as opposed to the unsuccessful schools were Internet connected or connected to a printer. The implication is that in successful schools students have greater access to electronic research tools in their school library than students in unsuccessful schools.
Schools with a greater number of library and school computers with catalogue access, and schools with a greater number of library computers with Internet access were more likely to be higher achieving schools. Libraries at high performing schools had 52% more computers with Internet access and nearly twice as many computers with library catalogue access. Even more profound, high performing schools offered nearly three time as many computer with school-wide library catalogue access than low performing schools.
School libraries seeing more group visits per week and more items circulation per week, were more likely to be at higher achieving schools… High performing school libraries received an average of 19.9 student group visits per week versus 13.8 at low performing school libraries. Teacher-librarians at high performing schools had an average of 13.1 information skills group contacts per week versus 8.3 at low performing schools. And circulation numbers were 42% higher at schools with better school achievement.
Schools in which teacher-librarians were spending more hours offering student reading incentives, providing more information skill group contacts per week, and identifying materials for teachers were more likely to be higher achieving schools. High performing school teacher-librarians spent an average of 3.0 hours per week on reading incentive activities, twice that of counterparts at low performing schools. High performing school teacher-librarians also spent 2.8 hours per week identifying materials for teachers, more than double that of counterparts at low performing schools.
School libraries managed by qualified professional staff and supported by clerical and volunteer staff were more likely to be associated with higher school performance. Libraries with more qualified school librarian hours, more paid clerical and technical staff hours, a larger number of volunteers and total number of staff were more likely to be associated with high school performance.
Findings from a study among schools in British Columbia reinforce previous research suggesting that an easily accessed, well-funded, well-staffed, well-managed, well-stocked, integrated and heavily used school library correlated to higher student achievement.
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.