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.
Impact on Reading and Literacy
…[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…
More than three out of four elementary schools (over 75 percent) spending an average or above amounts of time on cooperative planning were schools with higher-achieving students.
Comparison of means analysis found that, among elementary schools, those with higher test scores averaged 22 percent of librarian hours spent delivering library/IL instruction, compared with only 13 percent of low-achievement schools.
With the increasingly diverse educational needs of all students, it takes a team of professional to ensure student success. School librarians can be integral members of these professional teams. Through collaborative activities, libraries can meet the needs of at-risk students by working to implement strategies designed to help them experience academic success and prevent them from dropping out of school.
School librarians offer information literacy and technology instruction that is crucial for 21st century learners, particularly marginalized at-risk learners who may not have access to resources and computers in their homes. Furthermore, school libraries can provide students equal access to print and digital resources to help close the gap between privileged and at-risk students (Martin, 2008).