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Research: Making the Case
A substantial body of research since 1990 shows a positive relationship between school libraries and student achievement. The research studies show that school libraries can have a positive impact on student achievement—whether such achievement is measured in terms of reading scores, literacy, or learning more generally. A school library program that is adequately staffed, resourced, and funded can lead to higher achievement regardless of the socio-economic or educational levels of the community. From School Libraries Work! (Scholastic, p.10, 2006) pdf

'Why Care About School Libraries?'
From the US National Commission on Libraries and Information Science pdf

The Essential Link:
The School Librarian Bolsters Achievement, Northwest Education Magazine, NW Regional Education Laboratory

The Impact of School Library Media Centers on Academic Achievement
Keith Curry Lance, American Association of School Librarians

'How School Librarians Help Kids Achieve Standards' pdf
The Second Colorado Study, Lance et al

Survey of Florida K-12 public school library media specialists

'How School Libraries Improve Outcomes for Children' pdf

Leadership Matters: It matters a great deal in improving student learning pdf
Gene Sharratt, Medium, Washington Library Media Association

'Why Should Principals Support School Libraries?' pdf
Gary Hartzell, ERIC Digest

School Libraries Work! A Scholastic Research Foundation Paper (2008) provides position statements from professional organizations and a summary of findings of a decade of empirical studies on the impact of school libraries and library media specialists on student achievement. pdf

Key Findings: "When library media specialists work with teachers to support learning opportunities with books, computer resources and more, students learn more, get better grades, and score higher on standardized test scores than their peers in schools without good libraries."

School Library Impact Studies by Library Research Service (2000-2007, Denver, CO) provides a summary of studies conducted by Dr. Keith Curry Lance, his associates, and others that document the impact of library media programs on student achievement.

Key Findings: "There are links between academic achievement (represented by scores on standards-based state tests of reading/language arts skills) and library staffing levels, librarian activities, collection size, technology integration, and library usage. Schools with stronger school library programs average 10-20% higher test scores."

School Libraries and Their Impact on Student Performance, a Research Brief (2003) from the Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development that synthesizes findings from recent studies of library systems in Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, and Pennsylvania.

Key Findings:
  1. "Professionally trained and credentialed library media specialists have a positive effect on student achievement.
  2. Library media specialists need teacher and principal support to be most effective.
  3. Support staff is essential if library media specialists are to fully affect student achievement.
  4. Library media specialists serve as both teachers of students and in-service providers for teachers.
  5. Effective library media specialists serve a key role in expanding access to information technology beyond the library. These findings remained constant after controlling for student and community characteristics."

White House Conference on School Libraries (2002) Among the speakers assembled to discuss the latest research on libraries, Dr. Susan Neuman, Assistant Secretary of Education, shared the results of a recent Philadelphia study on the impact of children's literacy development following major updates to the city's libraries.

Key Findings: "Despite similarities in budget allocations, there were striking differences in the quality of school libraries in schools across the city. Children in poor areas had mediocre to poor libraries, no librarian on site, and the libraries were often closed, compared to those in middle-class schools. School library funds were designated as discretionary to be used for computers if the instructional leader chose to do so. Thus, many of these schools in poor areas had no libraries, but computer labs, often empty of anything but the technology itself."

How School Librarians Help Kids Achieve Standards, from The Second Colorado Study, Lance, et al (2000). pdf

Key Findings: "State reading scores increase with increases in the following characteristics of library media programs: Program development, information technology, teacher/librarian collaboration, and individual visits to the library media center. The relationship between these factors and test scores is not explained away by other school or community conditions."

The American Association of School Librarians provides a listing of recent research studies conducted across the United States, including the results of the first longitudinal survey of the status of library staffing, role responsibilities, and funding (2007).

What Works? Research You Can Use, a popular column feature of the Teacher Librarian journal, written by Dr. Ken Haycock (1998-2005). Each column includes 4-5 examples of research on the connection between teaching librarians and student achievement.

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Library Research Service in Denver, Colorado - a summary of school library impact studies done by Keith Lance, his associates, and others that demonstrate the potential library media programs have for improving student achievement.
http://www.lrs.org/impact.php

Links to research evidence regarding school libraries in the English-speaking world
of the U.S., Canada, the UK, Australia and New Zealand, among other.  The
consistent research results, drawn from widely differing environments, suggest the power of library media potential.
http://www.strongest-links.org.uk/support_research.htm

A convenient summary of research from the last five years. pdf

A listing of recent research studies done in a variety of settings
across the United States.
http://www.ala.org/

A review of widespread research, both domestic and international, from the Wisconsin Educational Media Association.
WEMAtter Toolkit - Research

A summary of ideas and research presented at the 2002 White House Conference on School Libraries.
http://www.imls.gov/news/events/whitehouse.shtm

Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction: Impacts on Academic Achievement
http://dpi.wi.gov/imt/relevres.html