The Center for International Scholarship in School Libraries (CISSL) has published findings from Phase 1 of its study, “One Common Goal: Student Learning,” which shows New Jersey school library programs staffed by certified school librarian media specialists are cost-effective in helping students achieve higher standards and critical for the intellectual, social, and cultural development of students.
The study surveyed the status of school library programs in New Jersey schools in the spring of 2009, concluding Phase I in July. The study found that school librarians help students to:
- Master content knowledge
- Develop the ability to manage inquiry and research processes
- Become competent in deriving information from a range of resources
- Develop the critical thinking processes of analyzing, organizing, and synthesizing information and representing the resulting knowledge in a variety of ways
- Develop positive and ethical values about working with information and with each other
- Enjoy reading more, more widely, and with more discrimination.
CISSL also examined school library budgets and the size and age of library collections. The survey revealed that most school libraries in New Jersey have a large percentage of age sensitive materials that have copyright dates older than the recommended three to five years. In analyzing the number of books in school libraries’ collections as well as the age of the books, the study revealed that due to disparities in local school library budgets, students in communities of lower socioeconomic status depend on both smaller and older school library collections than their peers in more affluent communities.
Phase II of the CISSL study is presently underway. It will assess in greater depth the ways in which a school library program contributes to student learning and ensures that today’s students become responsible, ethical users of information and are prepared to meet the challenges of higher education and the workplace.
To access Phase 1 of the CISSL survey, visit http://cissl.rutgers.edu/docs/NJASL_Phase_1.pdf.