Research on the impact of an effective school library on student learning is evidence-based. There is a growing body of international studies show libraries can make a significant difference to student learning outcomes.
NEMP: New Zealand’s National Education Monitoring Project. Their research follows a four-yearly cycle, focusing on students at Year 4 and Year 8 levels in New Zealand primary schools. The Information Skills: library and research last took place in 2009. The findings of the NEMP Probe studies provide a useful background to the learning processes of New Zealand primary school students.
Student Learning in the Information Landscape Report 2005: The N.Z. Education Review Office (ERO) conducted this evaluation to determine how effectively New Zealand schools were supporting students’ learning in the information landscape…The study found that primary and secondary schools were all at various stages of development in supporting student learning in the information landscape and, overall, there was wide variability of development and effectiveness within schools across all the areas evaluated.
See also Evidence and Learning Outcomes, under School Libraries and 21st Century Literacy.
Australian research: The value of School Libraries in learning
“Research studies continue to show that an active school library program…makes a significant difference to student learning outcomes.”
School Libraries 21C: the conversation begins (PDF), by Lyn Hay and Ross Todd. SCAN, v29:1, Feb 2010, p.30-42
This article summarises the findings and recommendations published in the School libraries 21C Discussion Report, commissioned by the School Libraries and Information Literacy unit of the NSW Department of Education and Training. The research highlighted one concern: “weak elucidation of specific outcomes as a result of school library initiatives. Typically these centred around claims related to mastery of information literacy competencies and reading enrichment, without any evidence to back up the claims.” (p.34) At the end are a number of key recommendations, well worth reading.
Exemplary school libraries in Ontario. This research study of eight Canadian elementary schools was designed to identify the key factors that these exemplary school libraries have in common.
Powerful Libraries make Powerful Learners: the Illinois study (2005) by Keith Curry Lance, Marcia J. Rodney and Christine Hamilton-Pennell. As in a number of similar studies in the US, this study identified those factors that had a positive impact on student achievement.
School Libraries Work (PDF) 3rd ed. 2008. Scholastic. Research Foundation Paper.
“We live in the Information Age, and because we do, information literacy has become universal currency - the single common denominator required for success at any stage of life. this is especially true for our children who, now more than ever, must be equipped to access, use and evaluate information competently in both print and electronic formats…This research foundation paper, updated from the 2006 edition…brings together position statements from a variety of organisations and findings from nearly two decades of empirical studies that cite the measurable impact school libraries and library media specialists have on student achievement.”
Booktrust: What makes a good school library? Booktrust (U.K.) believes that “effective school libraries provide the most socially inclusive means of giving all children the opportunity to enjoy books. Yet there is no statutory requirement for schools in England to have a library, and anecdotal evidence suggests that provision of books in schools is patchy.”
Their 2008 study into what makes a good primary school library includes case studies of six state primary school libraries which are effective despite challenges such as limited space and tight budgets.
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