This week I’ve been diving into the world of school library statistics and advocacy as I prepare to create an infographic for my class. There are a lot of numbers out there! Impressively, school libraries with professionally trained librarians show a consistent link to higher reading test-scores across the country. There are clear and definite correlations between school libraries and student outcomes, even when accounting for differences in socio-economic and special needs status.
What is less clear to me, however, is how GREAT those effects are, relative to the effects of other kinds of outcome-boosting interventions. This seems to be an area for greater study. I’d also be interested to see more correlations in better student outcomes across the curriculum. The school library should support math and science and social studies teachers every bit as much as they support language arts teachers!
Surprisingly, as states go, Texas doesn’t seem to be doing to bad on the school library statistics front. They rank 16th out of US states for having school libraries staffed by at least one full-time professional librarian, 90% of them are certified media specialists and 75% of them are classroom teachers. Though Texas only ranks 24th for book-holdings per 100 students, they rank 11th for giving students access to online licensed databases, and 6th for average expenditure overall on information resources per 100 students!
Though I don’t associate Texas with a deep commitment to public education and equitable access (we only rank 21st nationally for schools), apparently the library advocacy sector has been doing a pretty good job! I guess it’s a good state to get my certification in!