Anyone who has spent time with me or follows me on social media knows I care deeply about creating positive library experiences for children and teachers.
With the release of the 2016 edition of School Libraries Work!, I feel more motivated than ever to stand on mountaintops and shout about WHY school libraries are important and matter. School Libraries Work! will empower educators, administrators, policymakers and parents by arming them with powerful research, recommendations and support for school library programs.
To accomplish this, Scholastic compiled national- and state-level findings from more than 30 separate research studies demonstrating the integral role school libraries play in teaching and supporting student learning while confirming that when school librarian staffing is reduced, achievement in English Language Arts (ELA) suffers. Throughout all of the studies included in the report, one thing is abundantly clear: Librarians and libraries play a crucial role in schools. Across the country, the data is proof that a credentialed school librarian, collaboration and co-teaching, access to technology and large collection size all elevate student learning.
To download the full School Libraries Work! report, visit: http://www.scholastic.com/SLW2016.
Here are highlights from the report:
- When school librarian staffing is reduced, achievement in ELA suffers. A School Library Journal analysis found states that gained school librarian positions between 2005 and 2009 experienced larger increases and no decreases in National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) reading scores for 4th grade, while states that lost school librarians experienced smaller increases or decreases in reading scores.
- Librarians play an integral role in teaching and supporting 21st-century skills. A South Carolina study commissioned by the South Carolina Association of School Librarians revealed that students were more likely to show strengths and less likely to show weaknesses on writing standards if their school libraries were staffed with a full-time librarian plus a full or part-time assistant.
- Support of school librarians and libraries from school and district leaders is key. In fact, recent research has shown a strong relationship between test scores and the degree to which the principal values and supports the library media program. A research paper from Marietta, GA, details short and long term recommendations for school leaders to support and enhance student learning through high-quality library programs and certified staff.