Haves, Halves, and Have-Nots: School Libraries and Student Achievement in California

Despite the evolving standards that reflect the profession's call for a more expansive
instructional role for the school librarian, the school library was far from a firmly established,
integral part of schools across the United States. In fact, as late as 1959, just over half the
country's public schools with enrollment over 150 had libraries (Pender, 1984). Spurred by the
Soviet Union's successful launch of the Sputnik in 1957 and widespread concern for the nation's
ability to keep pace with its cold war rival, the U.S. congress passed the National Defense
Education Act (NDEA) of 1959, which funded purchase of educational materials in science,
math and foreign languages, and funded professional development and special programs for
teachers (Woolls, 2005; Pender, 1984). Even though the NDEA reimbursed schools at 51 cents
to the dollar, most of the materials purchased under this act were housed neither in secondary
school libraries, which were often undersized, nor in elementary school libraries, which largely
did not exist (Woolls, 2005).
A confluence of factors, though, led to unprecedented growth of school libraries in the
1960s: creation of influential new standards; a strengthening of the professional association and
its corresponding efforts to promote and improve school libraries; and unprecedented public and
private funding. At the start of the decade, The American Association of School Librarians
(AASL) published its 1960 Standards for School Library Programs, which has been called the
most influential standards document published up to that time (Gann, 1998; Jones, 1997; Pender,
1984; Saunders, 1975; Woolls, 2005). The standards asserted the library as the center for
instructional materials of all types, broadening the school librarian's role as a multimedia
specialist and describe the school librarian as a teacher who is jointly responsible, along with the
classroom teacher, for integrating library skills into classroom instruction (AASL and AECT,
1988). Grazier (1979) also points out that this document recommended school librarians assume

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Achterman, Douglas L. Haves, Halves, and Have-Nots: School Libraries and Student Achievement in California. Denton, Texas. UNT Digital Library. http://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc9800/. Accessed September 21, 2014.