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The Role of the School Library and Library Media Specialist Highlands School District November 15, 2010.
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Highlands School District
November 15, 2010
There have been many changes in the library over the last 50 years. For example, the old card catalogue has been replaced by online databases which hold all the information about the materials housed in the library. The role of the librarian has also evolved. Today’s librarian wears many hats.
A summary of the major library studies, both from 19 United States and internationally, clearly show that “students who attend schools with well-funded, properly stocked libraries managed by qualified teacher-librarians have higher achievement, improved literacy, and greater success at the post-secondary level.”
Dr. Ken Haycock (2003)
(Professor and former director at the graduate School of
Library, Archival and Information Studies at the University
of British Columbia)
“The evidence is there for all to see, that’s why governments in the U.S., Europe, and Asia are aggressively investing in their school libraries. The findings of literally decades of research show why school libraries and qualified teacher-librarians are essential components in the academic programming of any school. Standardized scores tend to be 10 to 20% higher than in schools without an investment in a school library program. The relationship between library resource levels and increased achievement is not explained away by other school variables (e.g., per student spending, teacher-pupil ratios) or community conditions (e.g., poverty, demographics). In fact, no fewer than forty years of research – conducted in different locations, at different levels of schooling, in different socioeconomic areas, sponsored by different agencies, and conducted by different, credible researchers – provide an abundance of evidence about the positive impact of qualified teacher-librarians and school libraries on children and adolescents.” (Haycock 2003)
The school library media specialist can and does have an impact on student literacy and academic achievement.
“Two leading U.S. researchers in the field offer this arresting conclusion: 'In research done in nine (today 19) states and over 3300 schools since 1999, the positive impact of the school library program is consistent. [They] make a difference in academic achievement. If you were setting out a balanced meal for a learner, the school library media program would be part of the main course, not the butter on the bread (Lance and Loertscher, 2003).'”
One role of the school library media specialist is as a college and career counselor.
One role of the school library media specialist is a technology facilitator.
One role of the school library media specialist is as a literacy coach, tutor, and reading motivator.
One role of the school library media specialist is as a collaborator.
One role of the school library media specialist is to meet the needs for all patrons including those who may have special needs or be an English Language Learner (ELL).
The library is inclusive.
One role of the school library media specialist is as a facilitator of different types of reading materials.
Fourth-graders’ reading proficiency related to the diversity of their reading materials. They read: storybooks, magazines, and nonfiction. Students who read all three categories achieved the highest NAEP (Nation’s Report Card) scores.
Number of Categories ReadNAEP SCORE
“Providing interesting books for children is a powerful incentive for reading, perhaps the most powerful incentive possible. This conclusion is consistent with research showing that extrinsic incentives for reading have not been successful, while improving access to books has been successful in encouraging reading.” (Ramos &Krashen, 1998, p. 614)
One role of the school library media specialist is as a model for lifelong learning and literacy.
The school library, library media specialists, and library staff are powerful tools in the Highlands School District to help increase student achievement and high-stakes test scores, as well as in the promotion of literacy and the creation of lifelong learners.