IASL 2012 Conference, 11 to 15 November 2012
This page contains links to research reports and other documents that show that school libraries make a difference to student achievement; that school libraries have a positive impact on students and on learning. There are documents from a number of countries. There are also links to articles in professional journals and newspapers that are based on these documents. This page is intended to help school librarians to answer the question, "Do school libraries make a difference?".
School Libraries and Student Achievement in Ontario
April 5, 2006, this landmark study was released. This study demonstrates similar results to numerous international studies which show the positive relationship between professionally staffed school libraries and student achievement.
School Libraries Work!
Updated 2008 version now available. This is a Research Foundation Paper published by Scholastic Library Publishing; it brings together research findings from almost ten years of school library-related research. The preface notes, "A substantial body of research since 1990 clearly demonstrates the importance of school libraries to students' education. Whether student achievement is measured by standardized reading achievement tests or by global assessments of learning, research shows that a well-stocked library staffed by a certified library media specialist has a positive impact on student achievement, regardless of the socio-economic or educational levels of the community."
Student Learning Through Ohio School Libraries
The OELMA web site has the report of the "Student Learning Through Ohio School Libraries" project carried out by Dr Ross Todd and Dr Carol Kuhlthau. Also available on the web site are a short PowerPoint presentation of the findings of this research project, the report itself as a downloadable PDF file, a fact sheet on the project, and a link to an article about the project in the February 2004 issue of School Library Journal. The article is titled "13,000 Students Can't be Wrong".
Lien entre bibliothèques en milieu scolaire et réussite scolaire [Link Between School Libraries and Achievement]
This French-language page is a list or bibliography of articles, research papers, and other resources that show the link between school libraries and the achievement of students. There are hotlinks to the online resources. While some of the resources are in French, many are in English. This bibliography was compiled by Paulette Bernhard.
School Libraries and Their Impact on Student Performance
This is from Research Brief (the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development), volume 1, number 18, 2 September 2003. The article is intended to answer the question "What effects do school libraries have on student achievement?" Several research studies are reviewed. The conclusion: "Although socio-economic factors continue to be the strongest predictor of academic success, school library characteristics may account for up to 8 percent of the variance in reading-related test scores. Effective librarians perform a variety of tasks, including student instruction and teacher professional development. Inequity in the quality and availability of library resources continues to exist between both high- and low-poverty schools as well as high- and low-performing schools." There are, however, some caveats.
Impact of School Libraries on Student Achievement: A Review of the Research
A report prepared by Michele Lonsdale of the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) for the Australian School Library Association (ASLA) in March 2003. "The review focuses on studies conducted since 1990, which show that school libraries can have a positive impact on student achievement". The report is available as a series of web pages, and as a downloadable PDF document. Included is an annotated bibliography of the literature from 1990 to 2002.
CMIS Research : The Value of School Libraries in Learning
The Department of Education, Western Australia has developed a web page that collates Australian and International research studies that continue to show that an active school library program run by a trained teacher librarian makes a significant difference to student learning outcomes.
Proof of the Power: Recent Research on the Impact of School Library Media Programs on the Academic Achievement of U.S. Public School Students. ERIC Digest.
Written by Keith Curry Lance in 2001, this ERIC Digest [ED456861] reviews and summarises recent United States research studies related to school libraries and student achievement, particularly statewide studies in Colorado, Pennsylvania, Alaska and Oregon. The research is reviewed in the light of the American Information Power document.
LRS School Library Media Impact Studies
From the Library Research Service (LRS) of the Colorado Department of Education, this page provides information about the LRS studies conducted in Alaska, Colorado and Pennsylvania in 2000 by Keith Curry Lance and others that "show that school media librarians and libraries help kids perform better on standardized tests". There are summaries, presentations, and articles based on the studies. There is also ordering information for a workbook by Keith Curry Lance and David V. Loertscher, Powering Achievement: School Library Media Programs Make a Difference: The Evidence. Published in 2001, "this workbook was designed to assist library media specialists in making presentations about the effectiveness of library media programs. It contains recommended presentations, visuals, handouts, brochures, and links to PowerPoint slides that can be downloaded from the publisher's website". The page also provides links to the results of studies carried out in other States since 2001.
Texas School Libraries: Standards Resources, Services and Students' Performance (April 2001)
This report by E.G. Smith was published by the Texas State Library and Archives Commission. "The Texas Study demonstrated higher TAAS performance at all educational levels in schools with librarians than in schools without librarians." The publication is available in PDF format and can be printed in full from the Web site.
Study Shows Rise in Test Scores Tied to School Library Resources
An article by Kathleen Kennedy Manzo in Education Week on the Web of 22 March 2000, that reports on the studies carried out in Alaska, Coloradu and Pennsylvania, and quotes Keith Curry Lance. Other relevant articles are available in the Research Center on this site.
New Study Shows Impact of School Libraries, Librarians, on Students
A press release from the American Association of School Librarians, dated 25 April 2000, that summarised the [then] recently-released Colorado Study of Keith Curry Lance and others, "How School Librarians Help Kids Achieve Standards -- The Second Colorado Study" (no longer available). On the same web site, see also the page of links to AASL Resource Guides for School Library Media Program Development -- Student Achievement and a research article by Keith Curry Lance on The Impact of School Library Media Centers on Academic Achievement in School Library Media Research.
White House Conference on School Libraries, June 2002
"On June 4, 2002, Laura Bush hosted a White House Conference on School Libraries to discuss the latest research on libraries, student achievement and successful local programs. Mrs. Bush was joined by her co-host, Dr. Robert Martin, Director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services and education, library, government and philanthropic leaders from across the country. Experts and panelists offered compelling stories of the power of school libraries to make a difference in student achievement." This Web site has the full text of pepers by Keith Curry Lance ("What the Research Tells Us About the Importance of School Libraries"), Gary Hartzell, and Kathleen Smith, among others.
Research on Integrated Library Programs and Achievement
A page (dated 9 June 2001) of references to print sources on this topic. Authors cited include Dianne Oberg, Keith Curry Lance, and Ross Todd.
Irrefutable Evidence: How to Prove You Boost Student Achievement
An article by Ross Todd in School Library Journal in January 2003. The focus is evidence-based practice and "documenting how school librarians make a difference in learning". Throughout the article, the author provides vignettes that show that school libraries can make a difference to student achievement. There are also references to research that demonstrates that "school libraries make a difference".
Reading "can bring social change"
This article appeared on the BBC News World Edition Web site on 27 November 2002. It describes a recently-released report, Reading for Change. Among other things, "Children's interest in reading has more impact on their academic performance than their socio-economic group, research suggests." Fifteen-year-olds were studied in the project. The findings of the report suggest that "encouraging reading for pleasure could be one of the most effective ways of bringing about social change". The availability of reading material in the home played a part in developing a child's reading skills. Further, "Students who have access to a larger number of books have a tendency to be more interested in reading a broader range of materials," say the report authors.
School Library Media Studies on Achievement
This page brings together a collection of links to impact studies and other research studies and reports that show that school libraries make a difference to student achievement. Included are studies from Alaska, California, Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Texas, plus a document from Australia (to which there is a direct link above).
* Thanks to the American Association of School Librarians for permission to use the graphic at the top of the page.
Last Updated 2 April 2008 (KSB)