What Can A School Library Media Program Do For Your School?. Julie Thompson MEDT 6466 Fall 2011.
“As information literacy and technology skills become central to learning, the SLMS must lead the way in building 21st-century skills throughout the school environment” (Empowering learners, 2009, pg. 17).
Principals have a critical role in the implementation of change in schools.
You are the key to successful change in terms of vision building, collaborative planning, empowering others, and resource building. You are a collaborative leaders who use these strategies to facilitate the transformation of school culture. AND , as a principal, the demanding requirements of No Child Left Behind and standardized testing fall heavily upon you.
Are you aware that you have a powerful ally in your library media specialist?
“The SLMS collaborates with teachers to develop assignments that are matched to academic standards and include key critical thinking skills, technology and information literacy skills, and core social skills and cultural competencies”
(Empowering Learners, 2009, p. 17).
Many research studies have been conducted to study the impact of the school library media program on test scores and student achievement.
In a study conducted in 2007 in Indiana called How Students, Principals, and Teachers Benefit from Strong School Libraries, the key findings of the study were clear: schools tended to perform better on the ISTEP+ standardized tests in schools where there were better staffed, better-stocked, and better-funded school library programs. (Lance, 2007)
Results of Indiana Study Setting?As a result of this study it was determined, across grade levels, that the better performing schools tended to be those:
Whoseteachersinitiated collaboration with the LMS and felt that information literacy standards were important. Both were familiar with how to correlate information literacy and academic standards.
Whose principals valued collaboration between the LMS and teachers, advocated a flexible library schedule, held regularly scheduled meetings with the LMS, and place the LMS on important school committees.
Whose LMS believed that teachers and principals understood their importance as curriculum designers and school leaders and where the LMS took the initiative to provide resources to teachers.
“At each grade level, schools with library programs have higher MCAS (Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System) scores.
At each grade level, students score higher on MCAS tests when there is a higher per pupil book count.
At each grade level, schools with increased student use have higher MCAS scores.
At each grade level, school libraries with more open hours score higher on the MCAS tests.
At the elementary and middle/junior high school levels, students score higher on the MCAS tests when there is a library instruction program.
At the elementary and middle/junior high school levels, average MCAS scores are higher in schools with larger per pupil expenditures for school library materials.
At the elementary and high school levels, students who are served by a fulltime school librarian have higher MCAS scores than those in schools without a full-time librarian.
At the elementary and high school levels, library staff assistance (nonprofessional help) makes a positive difference in average MCAS scores.
At the elementary level, students score higher on the MCAS tests when the library is aligned with the state curriculum frameworks. (This fact is especially true in schools that have a high percentage of free school lunches.)
At the high school level, schools with automated collections have higher average MCAS scores.”
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.
The findings of this latest study are consistent with those two previous studies on several key points. Students tend to perform better on achievement tests where school libraries have:
Credentialed librarians were two to three times more likely to report engaging in most of these activities at least weekly than others deputized to run the library.
Investing in the library media program can only be a win-win situation:
Improved Library Support = Improved Student Achievement!
As you can see, a variety of credible studies prove that schools with good library media programs have higher performance outcomes.
Empowering Learners, 2009
A leader who implements quality instruction and creates authentic learning experiences.
An instructional partner who collaborates with the school community to develop assignments that match standards and information literacy skills.
Empowering Learners, 2009
An Librariesinformation specialist who uses technology to supplement school resources for engaging learning tasks.
A program administrator who ensures that all members of the learning community have access to a variety of resources.
A teacher who empowers students to be critical thinkers, and skilled readers and researchers.
Empowering Learners, 2009
How can a Media Specialist help the school to improve academic achievement?
American Association of School Librarians. (2009). Empowering Learners. Chicago: American Association of School Libraries.
American Association of School Librarians. (2004). Your school library media program and no child left behind. Retrieved October 25, 2011, from http://www.ala.org/ala/mgrps/divs/aasl/aaslarchive/aboutaaslarchive/aaslbucket/AASLNCLBbrochureweb.pdf
Baughman, J. C. (2000). School libraries and MCAS scores. Retrieved October 29, 2011 from
Francis, B. H., Lance, K. C. & Lietzau, Z. (2010). School librarians continue to help students achieve standards: The third Colorado study (2010). (Closer Look Report). Retrieved on October 29, 2011 from http://www.lrs.org/documents/closer_look/CO3_2010_Closer_Look_Report.pdf
Hartzell, G. (2003). Why should school principals support school libraries? Teacher Librarian. 31 (2), 14-18.
Lance, K., Rodney, M., & Russell, B. (2007). How students, teachers, and principals benefit from strong school libraries. Retrieved October 20, 2011, from http://www.ilfonline.org/clientuploads/AIME/2007MSArticle.pdf
New York State Educational Department. (2011). Administrative support:Student achievement is increasing through administrative and community support of the library media center. Retrieved October 25, 2011, from http://www.p12.nysed.gov/technology/library/SLMPE_rubric/EmpoweringLeadershipforLearning/AdministrativeSupport.html