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

data on a variety of elements of American high schools, with the goal of discovering those
qualities that may contribute to the stimulation and development of young people's aptitudes and
talents. The researchers found that the quality of the library correlated with students'
achievement in English, and that the number of books in the school library was one of the top
four strongest correlations with students' staying in school, going to college, and overall
achievement. Squire et al. (1967) reported a comparison between the 10 school libraries with the
lowest per capita book collections and the 10 highest, and noted that student visits to the library
increased proportionally with the size of the collection. Access begets access, which results in
higher student achievement.
Since the early 1990s, Krashen has written extensively on the connections among
availability of print, how much students read, and ultimately, on student achievement. In The
Power of Reading, Krashen (2004) documents the positive effects of free volunteer reading on
literacy development. Krashen's research supports the idea that the more print resources
available, the more students will read, and the more students read, the higher their academic
achievement. "The most obvious step" toward successful implementation of free volunteer
reading, says Krashen (2004), is "to provide access to books" (p. 57). A key to providing access,
says Krashen, is the strength of the school library, including the size of the collection, the
circulation policies, and the availability of the library resources and facilities for student use. In a
study using National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) reading comprehension test
scores of fourth graders from 41 states, Krashen (1995) found that both the collection size of the
school library and public library use were significant predictors of reading achievement,
controlling for whole-school per pupil spending. McQuillan (1998) similarly found correlations


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 January 26, 2015.