Schools with a strong school library program and a certified school librarian ensure their students have the best chance to succeed. More than 60 education and library research studies have produced clear evidence that school library programs staffed by qualified school librarians have a positive impact on student academic achievement. These studies clearly demonstrate that strong school library programs help all students do better academically, even when other school variables are considered. Students who don’t speak English at home can be among those who benefit the most.
- School library programs foster critical thinking, providing students with the skills they need to analyze, form, and communicate ideas in compelling ways.
- School libraries are places of opportunity. They are learning hubs and homework help centers where students use technology and the latest information resources, preparing them to succeed in our global, competitive economy and the ever-evolving workplace.
- Strong school library programs instill confidence in reading in multiple formats, which is fundamental to learning, personal growth and enjoyment.
- School libraries foster a safe and nurturing climate during the day and before and after school. They are often the one place in the school that is open to all students, and where a school librarian cares and can support students across grade levels and subject matter.
Students’ Success Endangered
The primary problem is money. Since the start of the global financial crisis in 2008, many districts have fewer tax dollars to spend. Cuts must be made. Unfortunately, in some districts, school libraries are seen as a “frill”—nice to have, but not essential to student learning. Some decision makers view the Internet and Worldwide Web or public libraries as replacements for school library programs guided by a certified school librarian in every school. The Internet and Web are not replacements for school libraries.
Despite their important contributions to student success, school libraries and school library programs throughout the United States are in danger. As a result, many students aren’t developing all the skills they’ll need for success in college and their careers.
- Across the country, testing pressures and budget decisions have led to decisions to eliminate school libraries and school librarians. Yet, school libraries and school librarians are among the most effective and efficient resources to boost student academic achievement.
- School libraries that are adequately funded deliver incredible value by increasing student achievement.
- Volunteers cannot replace a certified school librarian. Volunteers play a valuable role in helping students and schools, but do not bring the teaching and research expertise of a certified school librarian.