Data and Opinions Supporting Strong School Library Programs
What the state says
From the Vermont Agency of Education's Education Quality Standards:
2121.2. Staff The services of a certified library media specialist shall be made available to students and staff. Schools with over 300 students shall have at least one full-time library media specialist and sufficient staff to implement a program that supports literacy, information and technology standards. Schools with fewer than 300 students shall employ a library media specialist on a pro-rata basis.
2122.2. Access to Instructional Materials. Each school shall:
a. provide a learning environment with sufficient supplies and infrastructure to allow for learning;
b. develop, maintain, and expand as needed a collection of print, digital and technology resources, administered by a certified library media specialist;
c. ensure that the curriculum is supported by necessary digital and print resources;
d. ensure that students, teachers, administrators and paraprofessionals have access to an organized collection of digital and print materials sufficient and appropriate to support all students in meeting or exceeding the current state and national standards at no cost to the student;
e. provide students access to the library on a regular basis to use materials for reading, research, and for instruction in the skills needed to select and use information effectively;
f. provide access to a variety of up-to-date information, assistive, and other technology to support students in meeting or exceeding the standards;g. provide broadband Internet service for students and educators to access educational resources;
h. adopt and implement written policies on electronic resources, acceptable Internet usage, and procedures for handling complaints for both staff and students;
i. support a schedule that provides opportunities for a library media specialist to collaborate with teachers as they integrate information research skills into their curriculum; and
j. ensure that students are afforded the opportunity to learn the skills to locate, evaluate, synthesize, and to present information and ideas within content areas using technology integration.
There is an excellent summary about how strong library programs improve academic achievement and test scores, in this 2018 article, Why school librarians matter: What years of research tell us
TL:DR quotation: “the one key factor distinguishing high-performing high-poverty schools from low-performing high-poverty schools is a quality library program”
Here is a 2013 review of school library impact studies. All kinds of persuasive data here, including stats on the importance of library support staff.
TL:DR quotation: "School libraries have the ability to bridge the gap between privileged and at-risk students by providing equal access and resources for learning.
These, and other bits of key info are included in a slide show aimed at administrators.
Infographic on school libraries and student achievement.
Another infographic on the importance of school librarians with a detailed bibliography.
School library snapshot of the various services school libraries provide.
Donna Sullivan-Macdonald, former of the Vermont School Library Association and past president of the International Society for Technology in Education’s Librarians Network has said, “Your librarians play a powerful role in school-wide curriculum integration. They are instructional and technology leaders. Especially in light of Future Ready Schools, (a new national initiative in which Vermont is participating) your students, faculty and staff NEED your teacher librarians. I hope you will reconsider the proposed cuts to teacher librarians in your system.”