School Librarians and Student Performance Elizabeth Lee Queen’s University adapted from Keith Curry Lance Library Research Service Colorado State Library & University of Denver
Outline • A school librarian’s job description • Research on the impact of school librarians on academic achievement • What we know from this research, or 5 roles for empowering school librarians • Uses of the 5 roles
A Librarian’s Job Description (from a recent e-mail) I … • Order and catalog books • Check books in and out • Re-shelve books • Tend library computers • Teach keyboarding • Chair the book fair
Is Anything Missing? • What activities that you associate with a school librarian were not on that list? • What activities that are on that list do you not associate with a school librarian?
An empowered and empowering school librarian is a school leader a program administrator an information navigator a technology facilitator a collaborative teacher and learner
The Research That Backs It Up • Since 2000 • At least 5 teams of researchers • More than 12 U.S. states • Data on over 4,000 schools—all levels, all sizes—and their communities • Building-level summary test scores representing over 1 million students
Key Research Findings • Links between • Academic achievement (represented by scores on standards-based state tests of reading/ language arts skills) and • library staffing levels, librarian activities, collection size, technology integration, library usage • Schools with stronger school library programs average 10-20% higher test scores
More Findings … • Controlling for key school and community differences, library still explains 3-8% of test score variation • Poverty explains away other school and community differences—like the teacher-pupil ratio, per pupil spending, and parents’ education—but not the impact of school libraries
What Works: Research about Teaching and Learning through the School's Library Resource Centre, Ken Haycock 1993 • Development of research and study skills is most effective when integrated with classroom instruction and partnered by teacher and teacher-librarian. • Students learn best when units of study emphasize both subject matter and information seeking and use together. • Units are best when co-planned and co-implemented with teacher-librarian and teacher.
The Power of Reading, S. Krashen, 2004 • Voluntary reading is the best predictor of reading comprehension, vocabulary growth, spelling, grammar, and writing style. • Access to school libraries results in more voluntary reading. • Teacher-librarian makes a difference in amount of voluntary reading. • Larger collection and long hours increase circulation and amount read.
Keith Curry Lance,Research 1993-2003 • Reading scores increase when: information literacy (IL) integrated with curriculum; IL taught by teacher-librarian; networked computers with databases and Internet in library and classroom. • Students perform better when library staff actively involved with curriculum. • Students with higher standardized test scores come from well-staffed libraries with larger collections, regardless of socio-economic factors.
Donna BaumbachThe Florida Study: Making the Grade, 2003 • Students performed 20% higher or better on state reading tests where schools had: • a teacher-librarian • existing IL curriculum • school website • large book collection and many magazines. • See http://www.sunlink.ucf.edu/makingthegrade/ for the complete study.
Ross Todd and Carol KuhlthauOhio Study: Student Learning Through Ohio School Libraries, 2004 • 99.4% of students in grades 3 - 12 believe school libraries and their services help them become better learners. • 88.5% of those surveyed said the library helps them get better grades on assignments and projects • Students and educators alike believe that school libraries are key to learning. • See http://www.oelma.org/studentlearning/ for the complete study.
Secret to a Strong School Library Program • An Empowered—and Empowering—School Librarian What does that mean? … • Let’s talk about the 5 roles of a school librarian…
A school librarian is a school leader • Someone who has the education, training and credentials required to be a leader in the job • Someone who regularly… • meets with the principal, • attends faculty meetings, • serves on key committees, and • meets with other library staff
A school librarian is a program administrator • An effective manager of a school library program that is adequately staffed, stocked, and funded • Requires planning, budgeting, reporting, and evaluation • Someone who works with students and teachers on a flexible schedule • Requires support staff
A school librarian is an information navigator • A selector of print, non-print, and electronic resources that support the school’s curriculum and the provincial standards • Someone who teaches others how to be information literate—i.e., to recognize an information need and to locate, evaluate, and apply information in critical thinking to solve a problem
A school librarian is a technology facilitator • Someone who selects licensed databases and identifies authoritative free websites • Someone who bridges gaps between students and teachers, online information, and curriculum and instruction
A school librarian is a collaborativeteacher and learner • A teacher of students who collaborates with classroom teachers in design and delivery of instruction • A teacher of other teachers who creates more self-reliant users of information resources and technology • A colleague who attends local library staff meetings and provincial and national conferences regularly
Once more …An empowered and empowering school librarian is … • a school leader • a program administrator • an information navigator • a technology facilitator • a collaborative teacher and learner
How Does Your School Stack Up? • Is your school librarian empowered by the administration to perform these 5 roles? • Does your school librarian empower other teachers and students to succeed? • What more can your school do to enable its librarian to perform all 5 roles?
Uses of 5 Roles for Empowering School Librarians • Setting school goals • Establishing a teaching-learning environment (a climate of collaboration, the value of information literacy skills) • Writing the librarian’s job description • Hiring a new librarian
“Growing your own” librarian, or cultivating leadership and excellence • Planning and budgeting for the library program • Establishing performance expectations of the librarian • Evaluating the library and librarian (if it’s broken, don’t throw it away; fix it!) • Continuing education for current library staff • In-service training for all school staff
For more information… • Toronto District School Board. (2004). Improving Student Achievement@your library: School library handbook for Administrators. Toronto: Toronto District School Board. (Canadian) • Ken Haycock. What Works: Research about Teaching and Learning through the School's Library Resource Centre, 1993. (Canadian) • Visit http://www.LRS.org/impact.asp
Michele Lonsdale. 2004. Impact of School Libraries on Student Achievement: A Review of the Research, 2003 School Libraries Work! Scholastic Library Publishing, See http://www.scholasticlibrary.com/download/slw_04.pdf