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May 18, 2011

Spending More Money on Libraries can Improve Kid's Test Scores

As a kid you may not know this, but scientists, teachers, principals, and politicians all want to know just how much money they should spend on schools and where to spend it. One recent investigation shows that spending more money on libraries can, in fact, help kids perform better on tests.

The investigation was done by researchers at Mansfield University in Pennsylvania. They examined 23 different studies from around the United States and Canada. A professor at the school named Debra E. Kachel said that "Quality school library programs impact student achievement. The research shows clearly that schools that support their library programs give their students a better chance to succeed."

Professor Kachel worked with a class of graduate students to study and summarize the findings of the studies. There were studies from 22 states and one from Ontario, a Canadian province. Most of the studies used standardized test scores. It turns out that all of the studies showed that more library support led to better test scores. They wrote up their findings in a paper called "School Library Research Summarized".

Here are some results from various investigations on libraries from around the country:

A California study in 2008 established a strong positive relationship between school library budgets and test scores in language arts and history. In Illinois in 2005 a study found that elementary schools which spend more on their libraries average almost 10 percent higher writing performance. For middle school kids the average was 13 percent higher. A Pennsylvania study in 2000 learned that schools that spent more money on their school library programs had higher student achievement on reading scores. And a 2004 Minnesota study discovered a statistically significant relationship at the elementary level between higher reading scores and larger school library budgets.

The research also showed that having librarians is important too. In Ontario in 2006, the presence of a school librarian was the single strongest predictor of reading enjoyment for students in grades three and six. In 2010, a New York State research project found that elementary schools with certified school library media specialists were more likely to have higher English language arts achievement scores than those in schools without certified library staff.

"School Library Research Summarized" is now a booklet and a website. Both can be found here: Back to Kids News

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