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What the Research Says…. School Library Media Programs. Julia Bell Renee Janssen Ben Metcalfe. Minnesota . Check It Out! The Results of the School Library Media Program Census, Final Report Published by: Susan J. Baxter and Ann Walker Smalley 2003.

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What the research says

What the Research Says…

School Library Media Programs

Julia Bell

Renee Janssen

Ben Metcalfe


Check It Out! The Results of the School Library Media Program Census, Final Report

Published by:

Susan J. Baxter and Ann Walker Smalley


Minnesota purpose and researching agencies
Minnesota: Purpose and Researching Agencies


To collect baseline data on Minnesota’s school library media programs and the Minnesota Standards for Effective School Library Media Programs.

Researching Agencies:

  • Minnesota Educational Media Organization (MEMO) Legislative Committee

  • Department of Children, Families & Learning (CFL)

  • Library Development and Services (LDS)

  • Project Advisory Committee

Minnesota process
Minnesota: Process


  • On-line Census Survey was sent to all regular Minnesota public schools; 1,172 schools responded (82% of total)

  • Site visits were conducted at 131 schools, one elementary and secondary school per state senate district


  • On-line census survey focused on 14 areas:

    • General Info, Service Hours, Staffing, Frequency of Staff Activities, Usage, Space and Capacity, Equipment, Collection, Computers and Intenet Access, Budget, Mission, Evaluation

      On-Site Visits:

  • Visited 131 schools to collect further information and confirm data gathered from the census survey

Minnesota results
Minnesota: Results


Reading Achievement is related to school media center spending and to the number of hours media specialists work

Media specialists are the most common workers in a school media center and their most common activity is “other library activities” (shelving, circulation, etc.)

The smaller the school, the less likely of an automated catalogue or remote access to media center and statewide electronic resources

Minnesota results1
Minnesota: Results

Site Visits

Found large collections of old, worn books, run by part-time or non-licensed staff

The more knowledgeable and supportive a principal and the more hours a licensed media specialist works the greater chance of an effective media center

lack of money

too few resources

Unexpected findings:

Presence of a district-level media coordinator

Increase in computerized reading programs

The current state of model programs

Minnesota recommendations
Minnesota: Recommendations

Stakeholder expectations

Commit to hire full-time professional Media Specialists and support staff

Immediate investment in print collections

Staff at the state level

Maintain statewide resources

Continue to conduct data collection

All Media Specialists must become vocal advocates


Show Me Connection: How School Library Media Center Services Impact Student Achievement

Published by:

Quantitative Resources (RQ Squared)


Missouri purpose and researching agencies
Missouri: Purpose and Researching Agencies


To analyze school library media center services and to study their effect on student achievement, by testing three hypotheses

Library Media Centers and Services display a positive relationship to student achievement

Components of School Library Media Centers and Services have more of a relationship to student achievement than others

Demographic characteristics have a high relationship to student achievement, they do not eliminate the positive relationships from hypothesis one and two

Researching Agencies

Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education

Missouri State Library

Missouri process
Missouri: Process


Core Data collected by MDESE on all 2,243 public schools

782 schools responded to the questionnaire

241 schools had complete data from both

Data Collection

Core Data included: Student Data, Library Media Data, Librarian Data, Teacher/Administrator Data, Technology Data


47 question web-based questionnaire

Categories included: Library Management, Library Staff, Service Hours, Staff Activities, Library/Loan Use, Library Technology, Library Collection

Missouri results
Missouri Results

Hypothesis 1: Academic Achievement & SLMC

Proven: 12.6 p% of the variance of the Missouri Standardized Test can be explained by SLMC services

Hypothesis 2: Impact of Components of SLMC

Proven: Five components showed a statistically significant relationship to achievement on the Standardized Test (Library Usage, Summer Reading, Library Access, Library Budget, Technology)

Hypothesis 3: Demographics

Proven: SLMC services explained up to 10.6% of the variance in achievement not explained by the demographic variables

Missouri recommendations
Missouri Recommendations

Focus on Three Components

Library Usage:

Clerical Help

Variety of Resources

Summer Reading Program:

Cooperate with Local Public Libraries

Library Access:

Library/Media Coordinator

Online Resources

New mexico
New Mexico

How School Libraries Improve Outcomes for Children: The New Mexico Study

Published by:

Keith Curry Lance,

Marcia J. Rodney,

&Christine Hamilton-Pennell

June, 2002

New mexico purpose and researching agencies
New Mexico: Purpose and Researching Agencies


  • To confirm the findings of the first Colorado study in New Mexico and to explore several issues:

    • Student Achievement & SLMC services

    • Collaboration and Effectiveness of SLM programs

    • Role of Information Technology

      Researching Agencies:

  • New Mexico State Library

  • McCune Foundation

  • New Mexico State Department of Education

New mexico process
New Mexico: Process


206 Elementary Schools (52%)

100 Middle Schools (56%)

72 High Schools (47%)


Questionnaire with eight sections:

Respondent Information, Service Hours, School Library Staff, Paid Staff Activities, Library Usage, Technology, Resource Collection, Finances

New mexico results
New Mexico: Results

Elementary Level

fourth grade achievement levels tend to rise with increases in:

Number of Library Staff

Percentage of time LMS spend managing computer networks

Number of computers in the school that provide access to the library catalog, licensed databases, and the internet

Number of print volumes

Number of electronic reference sources relative to students

New mexico results1
New Mexico: Results

Middle Level

Eighth grade achievement scores tend to improve with increases in:

Number of weekly hours the school library is open

Extra time spent by the library staff on selected activities; planning with teachers and providing in-service training, developing library collections and creating incentives for students to read, managing school computer networks

Number of print volumes in the library’s collection

Number of computers with access to licensed databases

New mexico results2
New Mexico: Results

High School Level

Tenth grade achievement scores tend to improve with:

The general level of library staffing

The extent to which classroom teachers and librarians teach cooperatively

The frequency with which both individuals and groups visit the school library, especially - in the case of groups - for information literacy instruction

Availability of library computers to students, particularly with access to the library catalog and the Internet

The size of the library’s collection and its spending

New mexico conclusion
New Mexico: Conclusion

New Mexico achievement test scores tend to rise with increases in:

School librarian and total library staff hours per 100 students

Print volumes per student

Periodical subscriptions, video materials, and software programs per 100 students

School library expenditures per student

Spending cannot exert a positive influence if it comes at the expense of other school programs

Impact of SLMC at the high school level cannot be explained away by school & community differences

New mexico definition of a strong school library librarian
New Mexico: Definition of a Strong School Library/Librarian

A strong school library is one:

that is adequately staffed, stocked and funded

whose staff are actively involved leaders in their school’s teaching and learning enterprise

whose staff have collegial, collaborative relationships with classroom teachers

that embraces networked information technology

New mexico recommendations
New Mexico: Recommendations

Five specific actions should be taken:

Fund adequate professional and support staff, information resources, and information technology

School library program cannot be limited to the LMC as a place, librarians must involve themselves in the design and delivery of instruction

Information technology must be used to make resources available to teachers and students wherever they may be

Ensure access to teachers and students to high-quality licensed databases

Provide training to ensure teachers and students know how to use the information tools and assess and information resource

North carolina

An Essential Connection:

How Quality School Library Media Programs Improve Student Achievement in North Carolina

Published by:

Robert Burgin,

Pauletta Brown Bracy,

& With assistance from Kathy Brown

June 2003

North carolina why who


  • To address the proven methods portion of the “No Child Left Behind Act”.

  • To determine the impact of school library programs on student achievement in North Carolina Public Schools.


  • The collaborative efforts of:

    North Carolina Library Association, The State Library of North Carolina, The North Carolina School Library Media Association, and The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction

(Brown, Bracy, & Burgin, 2003)

North carolina methodology

Population Sampled:

  • Participants selected at randomfrom a data base of :

    • 2,138 School Libraries

    • and 2,529 School Library Media Specialists

      The Survey:

  • Type: Questionnaire to collect data in eight areas

(Brown, Bracy, & Burgin, 2003)

North carolina methodology1

The Survey:

  • Number of Survey’s sent: Conducted two survey’s

  • Delivery: Mailed to selected schools


  • Defined as: Percentage of students in the school who scored at or above passing on:

(Brown, Bracy, & Burgin, 2003)

North carolina results

Scores on Standardized reading and English tests in the schools included in the study tended to increase when libraries in the schools:

  • Were staffed more hours during the school week

  • Were open more hours during the school week

  • Had newer books

  • Spent more money per 100 students on books and other print materials like magazines and newspapers

  • Spent more money per 100 students on electronic access to information

  • Were more likely to subscribe to online periodical services

  • Were more likely to subscribe to online CD ROM services

(Brown, Bracy, & Burgin, 2003)

What the research says

Student Learning through Ohio School Libraries:

The Ohio Research Study

Published by:

The Ohio Educational Library Media Association,

Dr. Ross Todd,

& Dr. Carol Kuhlthau

December 2003

Ohio why who


  • To provide scientific proof of how school libraries help students learn.

  • To provide data points for additional research, educational policy development as well as guideposts for school librarians to see how their library impact learning.


  • The collaborative efforts of:

    The Ohio Educational Library Media Association, INFOhio, The Ohio Department of Education, and Rutgers University, The Center for International Scholarship in School Libraries, State Library of Ohio

(Kahlthau, OELMA, & Todd, 2003)

Ohio methodology

Population Sampled:

  • Participants :

    • 39 schools across Ohio

    • 13,123 Students; Grades 3- 12

    • 879 Faculty

      The Survey:

      Type: questionnaires were used to collect participants responses to forty eight statements based on Likert scale and one open-ended qualitative question. Divided into seven categorically significant blocks of “How helpful the school library is:”

(Kahlthau, OELMA, & Todd, 2003)

Ohio methodology1

The Survey:

  • Number of Survey’s sent: Two (one for both students & faculty)

  • Delivery: Web-based delivery to selected schools


  • Defined as: Percentage of student/ faculty “Most Helpful” ratings on the Likert scale:

(Kahlthau, OELMA, & Todd, 2003)

Ohio results

(Kahlthau, OELMA, & Todd, 2003)

Ohio recommendations

  • When effective school libraries are in place, students do learn. 13,000 students cannot be wrong…

(Kahlthau, OELMA, & Todd, 2003)


Good Schools Have School Librarians:

Oregon School Librarians Collaborate to Improve Academic Achievement

Published by:

Keith Curry Lance,

Marcia J. Rodney,

&Christine Hamilton-Pennell


Oregon why who


  • Put off by the deterioration of the library media program throughout Oregon Public Schools.

  • To determine the impact of library media programs to share information with influential members of the community.


  • The collaborative efforts of:

    The Oregon State Library and The Oregon Educational Media Association

(Hamilton-Pennell, Lance, & Rodney, 2001)

Oregon methodology

Population Sampled:

  • A total of 513 public schools participated:

    • 32% of Oregon’s public Elementary Schools

    • 49% of Oregon’s public Middle Schools

    • 63% of Oregon’s public High Schools

      The Survey:

      Type: Questionnaire to collect data in seven areas regarding their impact on reading scores.

      Library Media Center:

(Hamilton-Pennell, Lance, & Rodney, 2001)

Oregon methodology results

Achievement:Defined by: High test scores on the 2000 Oregon State Reading Assessment administered in 1999 to all 5th, 8th and 10th graders were used as indicators of students’ academic achievement.


Reading test scores increase when libraries in schools increase in:

  • Total staff hours per 100 students (including both professional and support staff)

  • Print volumes per student

  • Periodical subscriptions per 100 students, and

  • Library media expenditures per student.

  • Library media development alone accounts for 3%- 5% of variation in reading scores.

  • Whatever the current level of development of a school’s library media program, these findings indicate that incremental improvements in its staffing, collections, and budget will yield incremental increases in reading scores.

(Hamilton-Pennell, Lance, & Rodney, 2001)

Oregon defining a strong library media program

  • That is adequately staffed, stocked and funded

  • Whose staff are actively involved leaders in the school environment

  • Whose staff have collegial, collaborative relationships with classroom teachers

  • That embraces networked information technology

(Hamilton-Pennell, Lance, & Rodney, 2001)

Oregon recommendations

  • Funding for adequate professional & support staff, information resources and information technology.

  • Library Media Specialists must assert themselves as school leaders.

  • Principals’ support, encourage and have high expectations for collaboration

  • Information Technology accessible to students and teachers where they may be in school

  • Access to high-quality licensed databases with LMC providing the necessary training for students and staff

(Hamilton-Pennell, Lance, & Rodney, 2001)


Measuring Up to Standards:

The Impact of School Library Programs & Information Literacy in Pennsylvania Schools

Keith Curry Lance

Marcia J. Rodney

Christine Hamilton-Pennell

February 2000

Pennsylvania why
Pennsylvania: why?

  • Increasingly alarming condition of SLM programs

  • Only explanation were that decision makers were unaware of the impact of good SLM programs

  • Decided to be the first state east of the Mississippi to replicate the Colorado Study

    • Sought to confirm in PA these findings

    • AND expand on the results by determining the impact on academic achievement of:

      • Specific activities of certified school librarians;

      • Principal and teacher support of SLM programs; and

      • Information technology— particularly licensed databases and the Internet/WWW

P ennsylvania methodology
Pennsylvania: Methodology

  • Academic Achievement Indicator

    • Scores on the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA) reading test from 1999

  • The Sample

    • Includes 435 of the state’s 1,691 schools serving three tested grades: 5, 8, and 11

    • 435 participating schools constitute an 87 % response rate from a 500-case sample

Pennsylvania methodology
Pennsylvania: Methodology

  • The Survey: Questionnaire

    • Respondent Information

    • Hours of the School Library

    • School Library Staff

    • Paid Staff Activities

    • Usage of School Library Services

    • School Library Technology

    • School Library Resources

    • Annual Operating Expenditures

    • School Library Information Management

Pennsylvania findings
Pennsylvania: Findings

  • Reading scores increase with increases in the following characteristics of SLM programs:

    • Staffing

      • SLM hours

      • Support staff hours

    • Number of computers enabling teachers and students to utilize:

      • The ACCESS PENNSYLVANIA database

      • Licensed databases

      • Internet/WWW

    • Integration of information literacy into the curriculum

Pennsylvania indirect findings
Pennsylvania: Indirect Findings

  • As these characteristics rise, so does the involvement of SLMS in teaching students and teachers how to find and assess information

  • Higher level of staffing predict:

    • Higher expenditures

    • Larger & more varied collections

    • Increased access to info technology for teachers and students

    • More integrated approaches to info literacy, standards, and curriculum

  • Pennsylvania distinguishing results
    Pennsylvania: Distinguishing Results


    Pennsylvania the bottom line
    Pennsylvania: The Bottom Line

    • It depends on…

      • Current status

      • What it improves

      • How much it improves

    • When all predictors are maximized, then:

    • How much can scores rise with good SLM programs?

    • PPSA scores tend to run 10 to 15 points higher!


    Texas School Libraries:

    Standards, Resources, Services,

    and Student’s Performance

    Ester G. Smith, Ph.D

    EGS Research & Consulting

    April 2001

    Texas objectives
    Texas: Objectives

    • Examine school library resources, services, and use and update the standards so they better serve communities across the state

      • School Library Programs: Standards and Guidelines for Texas

    • Determine the impact that school libraries have on student performance

      • as measured by the percent of students who met minimum expectations on the reading portion of the statewide standardized test– the Texas Assessment of Academic Skills (TAAS)

    • Highlight library practices in the best performing schools

    Texas methodology
    Texas: Methodology

    • The Sample

      • Random sample of 600 school libraries

      • Data collected through a self-administered mail survey

        • Responses obtained from 503 libraries = 84% response rate

      • Data from 500 responding libraries used:

    • The Survey: Questionnaire

    Texas methodology1
    Texas: Methodology

    • The Survey: Questionnaire

    Texas results
    Texas: Results

    • Higher TAAS performance at all educational levels in schools with librarians

      • Over 10% more students in schools with librarians than without met minimum TAAS expectations in reading

      • 89.3% (with) vs. 78.4% (without)

    • Socio-economic variables played major role in explaining this variance

      • However, library variables were a smaller but largely significant portion of explaining the variance

    • Also compared top and bottom 25 schools in TAAS performance

      • Differences found in:

        • Staffing levels

        • Collection sizes

        • Cooperative activities with teachers

        • Library and school technology levels


    Student Learning Through

    Wisconsin School Library Media Centers

    Ester G. Smith, Ph. D

    EGS Research & Consulting

    January 2006

    Wisconsin objectives
    Wisconsin: Objectives

    • “To examine the leadership and instructional roles of Wisconsin public school library media specialists required for a quality school library media program and the direct relationship with and impact on student achievement and learning across all grade levels.”

    (Smith, 2006)

    Wisconsin methodology
    Wisconsin: Methodology

    • 3 separate reports:

      • Survey of library media specialists

      • Survey of teachers and students

      • Case studies of best practice programs

    • The Sample

      • 855 library media specialists

      • Quantitative data collected on program structure, resources, and operations

      • Qualitative data collected from:

        • 51 randomly selected elementary, middle, and high schools

        • 107 teachers and 3,957 students on benefits received from SLM programs

    Wisconsin methodology1
    Wisconsin: Methodology

    • Statistical analysis compared school library and academic achievement indicators:

      • 3rd – 11th grade WKCE reading and language arts scores

      • 11th grade ACT scores

    • Test performance compared for schools that were stronger and weaker on library variables

    Wisconsin key findings
    Wisconsin: Key Findings

    • Schools with full-time certified SLMS and full-time library aides have higher performance on the WKCE

    • Schools where the SLMS spends more time on instructionally-related student and teacher activities have higher WKCE scores

    • Teachers who aligned WMAS for Information and Technology Literacy to their lessons found SLM programs more helpful to student performance

    • School with greater SLM program resources for collections and technology have higher WKCE performance

    • SLMS help students acquire unique skills not taught in the classroom and information technology skills essential for students in the 21st century

    Wisconsin recommendations
    Wisconsin: Recommendations



    A high quality SLM program requires a full-time certified SLMS plus support staff (at any grade level)

    Administrative and financial support is required to effectively implemented a SLM program with resources necessary to impact student achievement: staff, print and electronic resources, and technology


    Access to the SLMC and its resources should be open and flexibly scheduled


    Baxter, S. J., & Smalley, A. W. (2003). Check it out! The results of the school library media program census, final report. St. Paul: Metronet.

    Brown, K., Bracy, P., & Burgin, R. (2003). An essential connection: How quality school library media programs improve student achievement in north carolina. Retrieved February 4, 2009, from http://rburgin.com/NCschools2003/NCSchoolStudy.pdf

    Hamilton-Pennell, C., Lance, K. C., & Rodney, M. J. (2001) Good schools have school librarians: Oregon school librarians collaborate to improve academic achievement. Retrieved February 4, 2009, from http://www.oema.net/Oregon_Study/OR_Study_exec.pdf

    Kuhlthau, C., Ohio Educational Library Media Association (OELMA), & Todd, R. (2003). Student learning through ohio school libraries: The ohio research study. Retrieved February 4, 2009, from http://www.oelma.org/StudentLearning/documents/OELMAResearchStudy8page.pdf


    Lance, K. C., Rodney, M.J., & Hamilton-Pennell, C. (2000). Measuring up to standards: The impact of school library programs & information literacy in pennsylvania schools. Retrieved February 6, 2009 from http://www.statelibrary.state.pa.us/libraries/lib/libraries/measuringup.pdf

    Lance, K. C., Rodney, M. J., & Hamilton-Pennell, C. (2002). How school librarians improve outcomes for children: The New Mexico study. Santa Fe: New Mexico State Library.

    Quantitative Resources, LLC. (2003). Show-me connection: How school library media center services impact student achievement, 2002-2003. Jefferson City: Missouri State Library.

    Smith, E. G. (2001). Texas school libraries: Standards, resources, services, and students’ performance. Retrieved February 6, 2009 from http://www.tsl.state.tx.us/ld/pubs/schlibsurvey/index.html

    Smith, E. G. (2006). Student learning through wisconsin school library media centers: Wisconsin study results. Retrieved February 6, 2009 from http://www.dpi.wi.gov/imt/pdf/SLMP1.pdf