Libraries as the Hub of School Improvement
I love school improvement! It sounds geeky and surreal, but it’s true. I practically get goose bumps talking about continuous improvement and high leverage instructional strategies. We have worked hard at our IU to offer comprehensive services to support our school districts and truly thought we had most of the territory covered. However, turns out we never considered the role of school libraries as a source of school improvement.
Summary of Research Concludes (Findings from 19 State and 1 Province including Pennsylvania):
“A substantial body of research since 1990 shows a positive relationship between school libraries and student achievement. The research studies show that school libraries can have a positive impact on student achievement—whether such achievement is measured in terms of reading scores, literacy, or learning more generally. A school library program that is adequately staffed, resourced, and funded can lead to higher student achievement regardless of the socio-economic or educational levels of the community” (Scholastic, 2008, p. 10)
Key Findings from the Pennsylvania Study:
- Success requires adequate funding and staffing: one full-time certified library media specialist & one full-time support staff member.
- “Pennsylvania Middle Schools with the best PSSA scores spend twice as much on their school libraries as the lowest scoring schools.”
- Large collections of books, magazines, and newspapers is in and of itself is not adequate. Resources make a positive difference when they are part of school-wide initiatives to integrate information literacy into the school’s approach to standards and curricula (Scholastic, 2008, p. 14).
Special thanks to Lynn Moses, School Library Development Advisor, Pennsylvania Department of Education, for sharing these resources and proving that school improvement is not always in the most obvious places.
- School Libraries Work! – A Research Foundation Paper
- Pennsylvania School Libraries: Key Players in Education
School library photo courtesy of soaleha’s photostream on Flickr.