Monday, April 17, 2017

Why school librarians matter

Sent to the Dallas Morning News, April 17.

Re: 11 Dallas ISD schools are losing their librarians because of budget cuts, April 17, 2017

Are school officials in the Dallas district who are removing librarians from high schools and middle schools aware that research shows that better school libraries and the presence of credentialed school librarians are related to better reading achievement?

One reason school librarians are so valuable is that they are an important source of information about books: The amount of self-selected reading students do is the strongest predictor of performance on reading tests. According to a recent study done by Scholastic, 30% of students ages 12-14 and 19% of those ages 14-16 say that school librarians are among those who give them the best ideas about books to read for fun. School librarians have the biggest impact just before middle school begins: for children ages 9-11, 40% say the school librarian gives them the best ideas about books to read.

Scholastic also found that nearly half of middle schoolers and high schoolers said they had trouble finding books they like and that the amount of pleasure reading done declines sharply beginning at age 9, continuing through high school.

Dallas intends to rip away an important part of the cure for this problem.

Stephen Krashen
Professor Emeritus
University of Southern California

original article:

Kachel, D. and Lance, K. 2013. Latest Study: A full-time school librarian makes a critical difference in boosting student achievement.

Lance, Keith Curry and Linda Hofschire. (2012). Change in School Librarian Staffing Linked with Change in CSAP Reading Performance, 2005 to 2011.
Scholastic: Kids & Family Report Report, 6th editionKrashen, S., Lee, S.Y. and McQuillan, J. 2012. Is the library important? Multivariate studies at the national and international level. Journal of Language and Literacy Education, 8(1): 26-36.
Small, Ruth V., Jaime Snyder, and Katie Parker. 2009. "The Impact of New York's School Libraries on Student Achievement and Motivation: Phase I." School Library Media Research 12.

McQuillan, J. 1998. The Literacy Crisis: False Claims and Real Solutions. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann Publishing Company.

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