Protecting School Libraries

April 1st, 2010 by Richard.James
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This map marks the cities, towns, communities, and states that have made the decision to either eliminate certified school library positions (indicated in blue) or require one school librarian to work with two (2) or more school library programs throughout the week (indicated in red).

The Library Research Service’s Impact Study on school libraries and student achievement has made a compelling, evidence-based case that students who have access to school libraries perform better in reading tests and other literacy measures- including simple enjoyment of reading- as well as other performance measures. A recent study in California concluded that after controlling for all demographic and community measures, there was “an increasingly stronger relationship between total library programs and student achievement by grade level,” and in studies from Ontario to Idaho, the central role of school libraries and their staff in curriculum support, technology teaching, and information literacy has been affirmed.

In 2006, at the direction of the Governor’s Task Force on School Libraries, Dr. Ross Todd of Rutgers University conducted a study which confirmed that quality school libraries do contribute significantly to student learning. The recommendations, similar to the public library studies, also highlight the theme of capacity building in terms of certified libraries, collections, and technology. Delaware doesn’t want to close school libraries- although difficult decisions about resource allocation are a continuing challenge to schools and districts. Hopefully referenda such as this recent one which passed in the Indian River School District will continue to demonstrate that Delaware voters are committed to educational excellence for their children and their neighbor’s children.

You can read the 2006 report recommendations below:

Delaware Task Force on School Libraries: Recommendations

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