Media specialists are seeking data to demonstrate the effectiveness of the school library media program. Over the past several decades, a number of state studies have stated that there is a strong correlation between school media programs and student achievement. However Daniel Callison and others are encouraging members of our profession to examine the research more closely. For example, Callison suggests that although many of the studies provide useful information, most do not show a direct cause and effect relationship. He points out that there is a lack of controlled experimental research.

A new wave of research is trying to address some of these concerns. For example, the Wisconsin Study uses cases studies to show how a school media specialists who plays an extensive instructional role can make a difference in resource use and curriculum.

When sharing our findings with administrators and school board members, it's important to report the data accurately.

eye means readRead Enough Already?: Blazing New Trails for School Library Research: An Interview with Keith Curry Lance, Director, Library Research Service, Colorado State Library & University of Denver, Interview questions and discussion by Daniel Callison, School Library Media Research. The interview was conducted electronically July-Oct. 2005.

The following document provides the Dept of Education's Standards for Evidence Based Research:

Identifying and Implementing Educational Practices Supported By Rigorous Evidence A User Friendly Guide from the U.S. Dept. of Education.
Guide seeks to provide educational practitioners with user-friendly tools to distinguish practices supported by rigorous evidence from those that are not.

Use the following websites to learn more about investigations of school library media programs:

Selected State Studies

School Data from the Indiana Accountability System for Academic Progress

Nearby States
Student Learning through Ohio School Libraries : The Ohio Research Study

Powerful Libraries Make Powerful Learners (2005)

Student Learning Through Wisconsin School Library Media Centers (2006)

Other Data

School Library Media Centers: Selected Results From the Education Longitudinal Study of 2002 (ELS:2002)
This library media center survey, primarily administered to school librarians, examined various aspects of school libraries—their space, organization, collections, resources, staffing, and use. In addition, 10th-graders provided information on their use of and opinions about their school libraries. The NCES study found a significant correlation between student test scores and their use of the school library -- students with higher test scores reported higher use of library resources for assignments, in-school projects and
research papers, than those students whose composite test scores were in the lower range.

Statistical Studies of School Libraries
Links to many studies of school libraries.

General Education
Education Vital Signs: US Schools in Facts and Figures

Research on Impact of School Libraries on Student Learning
AASL Resource Guide for School Library Media Program Development

American Libraries: Some Basic Facts and Figures
Information about all types of libraries.

AMTR (Annual Media and Technology Report) from North Carolina Department of Public Instruction
Reports on last 6 years of technology in schools.

Baughman, J.C.. School Libraries and MCAS Scores, Massachusetts, Oct 2000 (PDF document)

Baumbach, DMaking the Grade: The Status of School Library Media Centers in the Sunshine State and How They Contribute to Student Achievement, Oct 2003. (Florida)

Baxter, S.J. & Smalley, A.WCheck It Out! The Results of the School Library Media Program Census: Minnesota School Library Media Programs. St. Paul, Minn.: Metronet, 2003.

Between the Lions: Research
Two research projects support the use of this television program.

Burgin, R.& Bracy, P.BAn Essential Connection: How Quality School Library Media Programs Improve Student Achievement in North Carolina, June 2003

Findings from the Evaluation of the National Library Power Program: An initiative of the DeWitt Wallace-Reader's Digest Fund (PDF document)

Hamilton-Pennell, C., Lance, K.C., Rodney, M.J. & Hainer, E. Dick and Jane Go to the Head of the Class. School Library Journal, April 2000; 46(4). . . . (Access requires login)
What do students need in order to succeed? The latest research insists they need strong library media programs.

Grover, R., and S.G. Fowler. Recent Trends in School Library Media Research. School Library Media Quarterly. 21:4, 241–49, Summer 1993.

Haycock, K. The Crisis in Canada's School Libraries: The Case for Reform and Re-Investment. Association of Canadian Publishers and the Department of Canadian Heritage. (PDF document)

Haycock, K. Research in Teacher-Librarianship and the Institutionalization of Change. School Library Media Quarterly. 23:4, 227–33, Summer 1995.

Hartzel, G. Capitalizing on the School Library's Potential to Positively Affect Student Achievement. Address to White House Conference on School Libraries, 2001. (PDF document),,,

Lance, K.C. The Impact of School Library Media Centers on Academic Achievement. School Library Media Research, 22(3), Spring 1994.,,,
Research examines the relationship between strong library media programs and academic achievement - - highlights the major findings and their importance to school library media practitioners, researchers and advocates of the original "Colorado study."

Lance, K.C., and others (1999). Information Empowered: The School Librarian as an Agent of Academic Achievement in Alaska Schools. Juneau: Alaska State Library, 1999.

Lance, K.C., Rodney, M.J. & Hamilton-Pennell, C. Measuring Up to Standards: The Impact of School Libraries & Information Literacy in Pennsylvania Schools. Greensburg, Pa.: Pennsylvania Citizens for Better Libraries, 2000.

Lance, K.C., Rodney, M.J. & Hamilton-Pennell, C. How School Librarians Help Kids Achieve Standards. Denver: Library Research Service, 2000. (PDF document)
Executive summary of the second "Colorado Study" conducted by Keith Curry Lance and the Library Research Service.

Lance, K.C.. 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: ED456861 from ERIC Clearinghouse on Information and Technology Syracuse, NY, 2001.
By mid 2001, researchers affiliated with the Library Research Service of the Colorado State Library and the University of Denver had completed four statewide studies on the impact of school library media programs on the academic achievement of U.S. public school students.

Lance, K.C., Rodney, M.J. & Hamilton-Pennell, CGood Schools Have School Librarians: Oregon School Librarians Collaborate to Improve Academic Achievement. Oregon Educational Media Association, 2001.

Lance, K.C. What Research Tells Us About the Importance of School Libraries. An address to the White House Conference on School Libraries, June 2002.

Lance, K.C., Rodney, M.J. & Hamilton-Pennell, C. Make the Connection: Quality School Library Media Programs Impact Academic Achievement in Iowa. Bettendorf, Iowa: Mississippi Bend Area Education Agency, 2002. (PDF document)

Lance, K.C. & Loertsher, D.V. Powering Achievement: School Library media Programs Make a Difference  (2nd Ed.) Hi Willow Research & Publishing, 2003.
Accompanying web site to the book. (1st Ed.)

Look it up: High-quality School Library Programs Lead to Better Achievement
Article about Cherry Creek High School from South Central Service Cooperative, North Mankato, MN.

Lynch, M.J. School Library Media Centers: Current and Future Statistics. School Library Media Quarterly. 23:4. (Summer 1995). 251–57

Loersher, D.V. School Library Media Programs and Academic Achievement::A Bibliography and Availability List, Mar. 2005.
Find every study related to school libraries and academic achievement in this list and where to get them including all the Lance studies and others done in states such as Texas and Minnesota.

McDonald, V. School Libraries: An Endangered Service, People for Education.

People for Education: Fifth Annual Report on Ontario Elementary Schools: Libraries, May 2002. (PDF document)

Proof of the Power. Fast Facts. Library Research Service, Nov 1999.
Bulletin on the research methodology for all three state studies, findings, and future implications.

Reading 'Can bring Social Change'. BBC News, Nov. 20, 2002.

Report of Findings from Six Focus Groups. American Association of School Librarians (AASL), Jan 2003. (PDF document)
Focus groups with faculty, parents, and students in the fall of 2002, querying them on all issues related to their perception of the library media specialist's standing in the school.

Quotable Facts from ALA

Research in School Libraries from SLiP Canadian Library Association

Rodney, M.J., Lance, K.C. & Hamilton-Pennell, CThe Impact of Michigan School Librarians on Academic Achievement: Kids Who Have Libraries Succeed. Lansing: Library of Michigan, 2003. (PDF document)

School Libraries and Their Impact on Student Performance. Research Brief from Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, Sept 2, 2003. . . . .

School Library Crisis Not Unique to Ontario, June 26, 2003. (PDF document)

School Library Impact Studies from LRS

School Libraries Work from Scholastic Research Foundation Paper, (PDF document)

Smith, E.G. Texas School Libraries: Standards, Resources, Services, and Students' Performance, April 2001.

Strong Libraries Improve Student Achievement from Education World.

Whelan, D.L. 13,000 Kids Can’t Be Wrong. School Library Journal, Feb 2004, 50(2). , , , (Access requires login)
A new Ohio study shows how school libraries help students learn.

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