Why Libraries?

Important New Impact Study on Quality School Libraries and Academic Achievement: Published April 2015

A new study out of Washington State examines the impact of professionally staffed library WLMA programs on student achievement for ALL students, especially those most in need of the resources provided by a quality program.  “According to the April 1 report, ‘The Washington State School Library Impact Study: Certified Teacher-Librarians, Library Quality and Student Achievement in Washington State Public Schools,’ students who attend schools with certified teacher librarians (CTLs) and quality library facilities perform better on standardized tests and are far more likely to graduate. Facilities with CTLs had an 85 percent five-year graduation rate, vs. 79 percent for those without. The study drew results from 1,486 K−12 public schools across the state.” This study is introduced and highligted in the May 2015 issue of School Library Journal article, “Washington Study Further Ties Quality Library Programs with Student Success.

School Librarians Continue to Help Students Achieve Standards:
 The Third Colorado Study (2010) 

            by Briana Hovendick Francis Keith Curry Lance and Zeth Lietzau

“This third Colorado study of the impact of school libraries and librarians on student test performance provides fresh evidence of the value of highly qualified librarians, especially at the elementary level where such positions are becoming increasingly vulnerable and, indeed, scarce.  This new study also includes a first:  it documents not only the impact of libraries and librarians on how high or low students’ test scores are, it also examines the impact of libraries and librarians on low-performing as well as high-performing students on the Colorado Student Assessment Program (CSAP) tests—findings that will be particularly relevant to those concerned about closing the achievement gap between ―’have’ and ―’have not’ students.”

Click here to view the report: School Librarians Continue to Help Students Achieve Standards: The Third Colorado Study

School Libraries Impact Student Achievement

Information Brief: Impact of School Libraries on Student Achievement from New Your Comprehensive Center, Funded by the U.S. Department of Education (2011).  

“As more and more schools and districts are confronted with difficult fiscal decisions, school libraries are often one of the first line items to be sacrificed. However, extensive research shows that schools that have relied on their libraries to support student growth and specifically in the areas of literacy, information literacy, technological skills, and access to resources and equipment, have seen increased motivation, higher assessment scores, and ultimately higher graduation rates.” Click here to view this Information Brief.

Key Word: Teacher Librarian

Leading In and Beyond the Library

By Mary Ann Wolf, Rachel Jones and Daniel Gilbert (January 2014)

“This report explains the key role that school librarians and libraries should play in state- and district-wide efforts to transition to digital learning, or the effective use of technology to improve teaching and learning…the implementation of digital learning has changed the potential of school librarians and libraries. Many principals and district leaders are utilizing the role of the school librarian and the library and its resources as important elements in the digital learning transition, the systemic approach to integrating the effective use of technology to improve student outcomes.” Click here for the full report by the Alliance for Excellent Education.

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School Libraries Work!

“We live in the Information Age, and because we do, information literacy has become universal currency-the single common denominator required for success at any stage of life.  This is especially true for our children who, now more than ever, must be equipped to access, use and evaluate information in both print and electronic formats.

Resource-rich school libraries and credentialed school librarians play key roles in promoting both information and reading for information and inspiration.” 

School Libraries Work  (click on title) is a Research Foundation Paper published by the U.S. National Commission on Libraries and Information Science (NCLIS) (2008).  This comprehensive document describes the studies conducted in 20 states on the Impact of School Libraries and Library Media Specialists on Student Academic Achievement.

Implementing the Common Core State Standards:
The Role of the School Librarian

November 2013

“This document is a joint effort of the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) and Achieve in support of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). It is designed not only for school librarians who are supporting higher standards for student learning, but also for school leaders as they rethink and re-envision the role that the library can and should play in a major school improvement initiative. This brief also proposes that the school librarian is one of a number of specialists who share a vision of making a difference across the school. The cadre of school specialists – reading specialists, technology integration specialists, curriculum specialists, or any other specialists with a whole-school mission – can cooperatively break the isolation of the traditional classroom. Together, the specialists and classroom teachers can create a participatory culture that engenders excellence for all. Together, they can make a larger difference than any one person can alone. For the school librarian particularly, the school improvement initiative is enhanced by an information and technology rich environment that the librarian embeds into learning activities throughout the school. Thus, this document proposes that the school library program move away from providing a traditional warehouse of materials to adopting a proactive role in student learning as today’s information and technology environment becomes an integral and natural part of life.”

Click here to view this document.

Access Books’ Rebecca Constantino in LA Times

“A good school library is not in conflict with technology; it can enhance our understanding and use of it”

Check out Dr. Rebecca Constatino’s op-ed in the Sept. 14 issue of the LA Times.

Like Supt. John Deasy and others in the Los Angeles Unified School District, I am concerned about the educational civil rights of the district’s students. While the iPad-for-every-student controversy has gotten much media coverage lately, a long-term problem has gotten very little attention: the lack of equal access to a quality school library. A 19-month investigation by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights concluded in 2011 that thousands of LAUSD students were being denied equal educational opportunities, which included libraries with sufficient books and staffing.

Although the research is inconclusive regarding the results of providing every child a laptop, it is overwhelmingly positive for providing students well-stocked, well-staffed school libraries. In fact, an internal LAUSD memo from June attests to “the correlation between student achievement and well-staffed and well-stocked school libraries. This correlation is documented in many longitudinal studies. Access to such libraries is a necessary tool for student achievement and the implementation of the Common Core.” Click on the link above for the full article online.

Public and School Libraries in Decline: When We Need Them

In a recent article, Yvonne Siu-Runyan, NCTE President and professor emeritus from the University of Northern Colorado states, “All of language education is in crisis because of the decline of libraries.  We now know that libraries are utilized, that they contribute powerfully to literacy development, and have the potential of closing the gap between children from high and low-income families in reading achievement….The time has come for organizations such as NCTE to campaign vigorously to strengthen public and school libraries.”

Click here to view the article. Public and School Libraries in Decline: When We Need Them

Stephen Krashen Explains that School Libraries Are Key Ingredient to Closing the Achievement Gap

According to Stephen Krashen, professor emeritus at the University of Southern California, the most significant variable to student performance in school is poverty.  Children need good nutrition and health care to start with, but Krashen states in this video that the single most important way to close the achievement gap is through exposure to books by having quality school libraries.

Prof. Stephen Krashen 12-08-2011 from Chicago Teachers Union on Vimeo.

Stephen Krashen: Children need food, health care, and books.  Not new standards and tests.

The following article by Anthony Cody (who worked 24 years in Oakland, CA schools) provides Stephen Krashen’s views, studies and research on the impacts of poverty and access to books on student achievement.

 click here   Stephen Krashen: Children need food, health care, and books. Not new standards and tests.  Education Week, May 10, 2010.

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