Opening Minds

School Libraries and Teacher Librarians

Teacher Librarians + School Libraries = Student Achievement… Research says

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Numerous research studies have been conducted about the Teacher Librarian’s integral role to a successful educational program and student achievement.

Dr. Ken Haycock has been a strong advocate for school library programs for more than 40 years. In 2011 Dr. Haycock reported the findings of a study Connecting British Columbia (Canada) school libraries and student achievement: A comparison of higher and lower performing schools with similar overall funding.

Examining school library and test score data, while controlling for district-based funding to public schools, this study confirms the findings of over 40 years of research about the positive impact of qualified teacher librarians and school libraries on student achievement.

Haycock reiterates that recent studies on the relationship between school libraries, teacher librarians and student achievement have all concluded that schools with well-stocked, well-equipped school libraries, managed by qualified and motivated professional teacher-librarians working with support staff produce a) capable and avid readers; b) learners who are information literate, and c) teachers who are partnering with the teacher librarian to create high-quality learning experiences.”

In 2003 Dr. Haycock summarized 30 years of studies related to school libraries in The Crisis in Canadian School Libraries: The Case for Reform and Re-Investment, including the impact on student learning, best practice and recommendations.

Dr. Haycock provides 13 recommendations among them that Ministries of Education develop consistent and coordinated approaches to funding and management, recognizing the pivotal role of school libraries and qualified teacher-librarians.”

I’m guessing the Ministry of Education has not read either of these reports given the current trend in school libraries.

Is anybody listening?

Haycock’s 2011 study illustrates the fall out of Bill 28, The Public Education Flexibility and Choice Act, the elimination of staffing ratios for specialist teachers, including teacher librarians. Since 2002 staffing of school libraries has been at the discretion of individual school boards. School library programs have suffered. Student learning has not been enhanced by having access to a teacher librarian.

In my previous position, in 2002 as a result of Bill 28, my job changed significantly. I went from being a full time teacher librarian to 60%. This meant the library was closed while I went to teach my English or ICT class.

My story is not unique.

You will find provincially that school libraries as are not accessible throughout the whole school day. Teacher librarians wear many hats to piece together a full time job and pull focus away from developing full time school library programs.

Our students deserve better and research says

Teacher Librarians + School Libraries = Student Achievement!


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