We’ve known for a long time that a well funded school library can make a difference when it comes to reading. Plus, school libraries and the librarians who work in them have experience discussing and teaching about search and other electronic tools being used in 2011 plus other forms of info access and knowledge to improve info literacy. These are all important skills perhaps more today than at any time before. Plus, these types of skills will even be more valuable in the future.
So, why does funding for school libraries continue to decrease? What’s interfering with making this point clear to others? Where’s the disconnect? What’s are possible long term scenarios if this continues?
When support for school libraries rises, reading scores go up and learning by other measures increases also. That’s what researchers at Mansfield University in Mansfield, PA found when they examined and summarized the results of 23 studies done around the United States and Canada.
“Quality school library programs impact student achievement,” says Debra E. Kachel, a professor in the School Library and Information Technologies Department at Mansfield University. “The research shows clearly that schools that support their library programs give their students a better chance to succeed.”
Kachel and a class of graduate students examined school library impact studies, most done in the last decade, by 22 states and one Canadian province (Ontario). Most examined student standardized test scores. A few used qualitative approaches. All found positive links between library support and learning. The paper, “School Library Research Summarized” was done this spring for the Pennsylvania School Librarians Association.
Several findings from the paper are listed here.
A summary of the article plus findings and an “impact studies” chart can be accessed here.