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Media Matters. “What a school thinks about its library is a measure of what it thinks about education .” -Harold Howe, former U.S. Commissioner of Education. The Media Program. In tough economic times, the media program may seem like an appropriate budgetary cut.

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Media matters

Media Matters

“What a school thinks about its library is a measure of what it thinks about education.”

-Harold Howe, former U.S. Commissioner of Education

The media program
The Media Program

  • In tough economic times, the media program may seem like an appropriate budgetary cut.

  • Some questions you may ask yourself:

    • Is it not an auxiliary program?

    • Does it draw in fans and sponsors like athletics or arts?

    • Are books not becoming obsolete?

    • How is the investment returned?

Survey says
Survey says…

  • The media program has a significant impact on academic achievement.

  • While multiple studies have been conducted to verify this statement, these are most often cited:

    • Dr. Keith Lance, Colorado, 1993

    • Dr. Lance (follow-up), Colorado, Alaska, and Pennsylvania, 2000

    • Dr. James Baughman (citing the Simmons study), Massachusetts, 2000


  • Students at all three levels – elementary, middle, and high school – achieve higher scores on their standardized assessments when the school places high value on the media program.

    • Budget that supports a high quality program

    • Technology-rich environment

    • Opportunities for instruction and enrichment

    • Professional and support staff

Supportive budget
Supportive Budget

  • “Of all the expenditures that influence a school’s effectiveness…the level of expenditures for library and media services has the highest correlation with student achievement” (Baughman, 2000).

  • A well-developed media program helps level the playing field for lower income families, especially with:

    • High book count per pupil

    • High expenditure per pupil (print and nonprint)

    • Rich and up-to-date resources (print and nonprint)

Technology rich environment
Technology-Rich Environment

  • Successful schools incorporate technology in their media centers.

    • Allows 24/7 access to resources

    • Expands the walls of the media center, pushing information into classrooms and homes

    • Provides opportunity for global learning

    • Makes easy access to a wealth of information the norm

Instruction and enrichment
Instruction and Enrichment

  • High academic achievement was more prevalent when:

    • Information literacy was taught in conjunction with class curriculum

    • The collection is aligned with curricular frameworks

    • Reading for pleasure is promoted to the student body.

    • Student use is at a premium.

Professional and support staff
Professional and Support Staff

  • Schools with high scores…

    • Had a full-time librarian, as well as support personnel

    • Utilized parent volunteers

    • Kept longer hours before and after school, which can only be accomplished with a full library staff

    • Allowed the librarian to be a leader in the school, collaborating with teachers and helping develop the school-wide curriculum


  • When collaborating with the classroom teacher, the librarian should:

    • Be an integral part of planning instructional units

    • Identify materials for teacher use

    • Teach information literacy to students during the unit

    • Provide extra reading and information opportunities

  • In such collaborations, library media staff help raise student scores by:

    • Enhancing learning experiences

    • Building teacher effectiveness

Teacher leader
Teacher Leader

  • The librarian must be a leader in the school community. This can be done by:

    • Meeting regularly with administrators

    • Serving on standards and curriculum committees

    • Meeting with the library and school-wide staff to plan and evaluate the effectiveness of media program activities, specifically in their impact on student learning

    • Providing in-service training to teachers

Information power
Information Power

  • In 1998, the American Association of School Librarians released Information Power, a book that outlines standards defining the librarian’s role in student learning. Among those listed are:

    • Collaboration

    • Serving as a leader in the schools

    • Incorporating technology

    • Information access and delivery

    • Connecting to the learning community

Empowering learners
Empowering Learners

  • In Empowering Learners, the AASL highlights the changing roles of the school library media specialist. These include:

    • Teacher: helping students become information literate

    • Leader: building 21st century skills in the entire school environment

    • Instructional partner: collaborating with teachers to align assignments to standards

    • Information specialist: teaching and modeling new forms of technology

    • Program administrator: designing the media program to meet the needs of the whole school community

Why media matters
Why Media Matters

  • Administrators have to make decisions that will give them the most return for their investment.

  • Research shows that placing a high priority on the media program can result in a 10-20% rise in academic achievement, especially in scores on standardized testing.

  • Not providing high-quality media resources actually damages our students because we deprive them of opportunities for growth that may affect their future educational avenues.

We matter
We Matter…

  • If you want to lead a successful school, you need the right people on your team and you need the right programs in place.

  • Media specialists are valuable contributors to the learning community – students, teachers, administrators, and parent.

  • The media program provides unique academic opportunities that students cannot experience in the classroom alone.


  • American Association of School Librarians. (2009). Empowering learners: Guidelines for schoollibrary media programs. Chicago: American Library Association.

  • American Association of School Librarians. (1998). Information power: Building partnerships for learning. Chicago: American Library Association.

  • Baughman, J. (2000). School libraries and MCAS scores. Retrieved from schoollibraries/Baughman%20Paper.pdf

  • Callison, D. (1987). "Evaluator and educator: The school media specialist." TechTrends, 32(25).

  • Lance, K. & Loertscher, D. (2003). Powering achievement, 2nd edition: School library media programs make a difference.Retrieved from

Media matters

  • Pickard, P. (1993). Current research: The instructional consultant role of the school library media specialist. School Library Media Quarterly, 21(2). Retrieved from power/selctpickard

  • Weil, E. (2012). Meet your new school librarian. Retrieved from