LIS 534 Article PresentationSchool Librarian StaffingLinked with Gains inStudentAchievement, 2005-2011by Keith Curry Lance and Linda HofschirePrepared by Amanda McCormickUB MLS Program, Summer 2013 session
This study was originally published in TeacherLibrarian, a bi-monthly independent library journaldedicated to “identifying and responding to the excitingchallenges encountered by school library professional.”www.teacherlibrarian.comArticles are blindly-reviewed by at least two membersof the journal’s advisory board.MLA citation:Lance, Keith Curry, and Linda Hofschire. “School Librarian Staffing Linked withGains in Student Achievement, 2005-2011.” Teacher Librarian 39.6 (2012): 15-19. Print.
AUTHORSThe authors of the study have extensive experience inthe research field.Mr. Curry was the founding director of the LibraryResearch Group at the Colorado State Library in 1987.He is currently working as a consultant with librariesand related organizations.Ms. Hofschire is a research analyst with LibraryResearch Service (LRS), a unit of the Colorado StateLibrary. She holds a PhD and a MLIS.LRS is a unit of the Colorado State Library, which is an office of the ColoradoDepartment of Education. Additionally, LRS works in partnership with theUniversity of Denver Library, Morgridge College of Education, Library andInformation Science Program to offer research fellowships to current MLISstudents.
The authors of the study have conducted numerous studies which linkschool libraries and student achievement, which is illustrated here.Full PDF available: http://www.teacherlibrarian.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/tl-poster.pdf
PURPOSEPrevious research studies correlate studentachievement with various aspects of school libraries(e.g., staffing, collection size, information literacyinstruction).The purpose of this study was to build upon thosestudies and to examine the impact of school librarianstaffing on student achievement, focusing on twoimportant factors:(1) TIME(2) POVERTY LEVELS
BACKGROUNDThe authors cite to the American Association of SchoolLibrarians’ Standards for the 21st Century Learner:“Reading is a window to the world. Reading is a foundational skill forlearning, personal growth, and enjoyment. The degree to whichstudents can read and understand text in all formats (e.g., picture,video, print, etc.) and all contexts is a key indicator of success inschool and life. As a lifelong learning skill, reading goes beyonddecoding and comprehension to interpretation and development ofnew understandings.”These standards, the authors argue, are not just “lipservice.” School librarians consider the standards to beamong their “basic responsibilities.”Additionally, the standards are aligned with CommonCore standards, which are now the basis of statetesting.
METHODOLOGY: TIME STUDYThe authors analyzed Colorado Student AssessmentProgram reading scores and staffing data from the years2005 and 2011. Students were in grades 3-10.Two types of scores: advanced and unsatisfactory.Information was obtained from the Colorado Departmentof Education.
RESULTS: TIME STUDYStudents at schools that gained or maintained anendorsed librarian to managed the library programaveraged higher reading scores and higher increases inthose scores over time than students at schools whoselibrary programs were run by either nonendorsedlibrarians or library assistants.DefinitionsEndorsed librarian = Colorado designation of a librarian endorsed by the Colorado Department ofEducation as a school librarian or a teacher librarian/media specialistNon-endorsed librarian = Colorado designation of an employee having neither type of endorsedstatus.Library assistant = Colorado designation of an employee having neither type of endorsed status.
METHODOLOGY: POVERTY IMPACT STUDYThe authors collected data regarding the percentage ofstudents in a school who were eligible for free andreduced-cost meals (the generally accepted indicator ofpoverty in education research).Next, the authors correlated library staffing level withadvanced and unsatisfactory reading levels and this timecontrolled for poverty.
RESULTS: POVERTY IMPACT STUDYWhen controlling for poverty, both endorsed andnonendorsed librarians had positive and statisticallysignificant correlations with reading scores.However, relationships were stronger with endorsedlibrarians.Library assistants working without supervision were notfound to have an impact on reading scores (advancedor unsatisfactory).
CONCLUSIONSchool librarians play a vital role in increasing studentachievement.“Regardless of how rich or poor acommunity is, students tend toperform better on reading tests where,and when, their library programs are inthe hands of endorsed librarians.”
Strengths of the ArticleThis article seeks to add to abody of literature whichsupports the retention andhiring of school librarians.The article is clearly writtenand well-supported by theauthors’ analysis.Weaknesses of the ArticleThe article does not have aliterature reviewsection, which would haveprovided a helpfulbackground.The article does not addresshow learning in the classroomand school libraries intertwinewhen it comes to reading testresults.
Pertinent PointsIn a Colorado study, a statistically significantrelationship was found between student readingachievement and the presence of professionalschool librarians.The research indicates that students tend toperform better on reading tests when aprofessional school librarian is present, whetherthe district is considered to be affluent or lessaffluent.
Further Reading* www.teacherlibrarian.com* www.lrs.comThe Library Research Service generates library statisticsand research for library and education professionals, publicofficials, and the media. LRS reports and analyzes statisticson school, public, and academic libraries, and conductsstudies on major library issues that are reported in the FastFacts and Closer Look series. Topics of continuing interestto the LRS and its clients are the impact of school librarianson student achievement, public libraries and the use of webtechnologies, and the changing library workforce.