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What Can A School Library Media Program Do For Your School?. Julie Thompson MEDT 6466 Fall 2011.

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what can a school library media program do for your school

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.

(NYSED, 2011)

Are you aware that you have a powerful ally in your library media specialist?

what is the role of the slms in today s educational setting
What is the Role of the SLMS in Today’s Educational Setting?

“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).

the research studies
The Research Studies

Many research studies have been conducted to study the impact of the school library media program on test scores and student achievement.

the indiana study 2007
The Indiana Study ( 2007)

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 StudyAs 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.

(Lance, 2007)

baughman s massachusetts study results
Baughman’s Massachusetts Study Results

“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.

(Baughman, 2000)

baughman key findings
Baughman Key Findings

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.

(Baughman, 2000)

baughman key findings con t
Baughman Key Findings (Con’t)

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.”

(Baughman, 2000)

colorado study
Colorado Study

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 CSAP tests—findings that will be particularly relevant to those concerned about closing the achievement gap between “have” and “have not” students” ( Francis, p. 1).
relative impact of the colorado study relationship to the achievement gap
Relative Impact of the Colorado Study & Relationship to the Achievement Gap
  • School Library Staffing
    • “. . . The evidence indicates that library staff can have a positive impact on all students. . . A well-staff library can be especially important for the neediest students. These results indicate that school library staffing can play an important role in narrowing the achievement gap” (p. 4)
  • School Library Budgets
    • “. . . Library expenditures indicate that expenditures have a positive impact on reading achievement for all students. Additionally, the dramatic proportional differences associated with unsatisfactory scores indicate that well-funded libraries are especially important to the neediest students” (p. 6)
  • School Library Visits
    • “Elementary schools with a higher number of individual library visits per week and per student have a higher percentage of students scoring proficient or advanced in reading and a lower percentage of students scoring unsatisfactory. . . The evidence indicates that individual visits to the library have a positive impact on students, and that encouraging students to visit the library on their own and making time for this activity may help narrow the achievement gap” (p. 8)
  • School Library Collections
    • Elementary schools with more periodicals and videos have a significantly higher percentage of students scoring proficient or advanced in reading and a significantly lower percentage of students scoring unsatisfactorily. . . The numbers of periodicals and videos in the library can have a positive impact on students’ literacy skills. The fact that proportional differences associated with unsatisfactory scores are so dramatic suggests that strong periodical and video are especially beneficial to the neediest students.

(Frances, 2010)

conclusions of the colorado study
Conclusions of the Colorado Study

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:

    • More full-time equivalents (FTEs) of staffing;
    • Larger collections of periodicals and instructional videos;
    • Better-networked online resources made accessible via computers in the library as well as in classrooms, labs, and offices;
    • Higher total library expenditures; and
    • Heavier use, as indicated by both library visits and circulation.
  • Many of these studies [between 2000 and 2009] also present evidence that the relationships between library programs and test performance cannot be explained away by other school or community conditions.
  • More recent studies in Indiana and Idaho suggest some of the day-to-day dynamics of school life that may account for these relationships. In Idaho (the latest of these studies), higher test scores tended to be earned by students whose principals felt that their schools did an excellent job of teaching information, communication, and technology (ICT literacy).
  • In turn, such self-assessments were more likely at schools where principals valued as essential (or at least desirable) several policies and practices associated with fully credentialed librarians:
    • Flexibly scheduled access to the library: Collaboration between the school librarian and classroom teachers in the design and delivery of instruction; Provision of in-service professional development opportunities to teachers by the librarian; Appointment of the librarian to key school committees; Regular meetings between librarian and principal; and Addressing the instructional role of the librarian during teacher hiring interviews.

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.

(Frances, 2010)

how teachers and principals benefit from strong school libraries
How Teachers and Principals Benefit from Strong School Libraries

Investing in the library media program can only be a win-win situation:

Improved Library Support = Improved Student Achievement!

(Lance, 2007)

As you can see, a variety of credible studies prove that schools with good library media programs have higher performance outcomes.

what roles should the media specialist have at school
What Roles Should the Media Specialist Have at School?

Empowering Learners, 2009

Instructional Partner


Program Administrator


Information Specialist

the lms serves as
The LMS Serves As:

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 information 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


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