"a higher achieving full-time school library media specialist and a larger than average group of
high achieving students are likely to be found in the same elementary school."
Library Media Specialist Instructional Roles and Student Achievement
More available professional staffing suggests more time to carry out instructional roles
that may have an impact on student achievement. The most obvious instructional role of the
library media specialist is the direct instruction provided to students. In a mixed-methods study
of the role of the library media program at three nationally recognized South Carolina Blue
Ribbon schools, researchers analyzed data from site visits and interviews, questionnaires, and
surveys of principals, teachers, and library media specialists and found that, according to
students, the single most important service provided by the library program was help from the
library media specialist (Gehlkin, 1994). Students at all three schools identified as either mostly
or definitely true just three statements about the library program. Two of them involve the direct
instructional role of the library media specialist: "The media specialist helps me evaluate the
quality of information sources" (p. 81) and, "The media specialist helps me with difficult
questions such as, 'I need to write a major paper on an American poet, and I have no idea where
to begin. Will you help me get started?'" (p. 81). The third statement also involves both
instruction and collaboration: "When my class goes to the library, the media specialist works
with my teacher to help us" (81).
Faculty and students grades 3 through 10 from 39 schools identified by an international
advisory panel as having effective school library programs participated in an Ohio study that
articulates the multifaceted instructional role library media specialists perform with students
(Todd & Kuhlthau, 2004). Two Web-based Likert-type surveys, one for students and a similar
one for faculty, were used to collect data about "helps"-the aids used to help bridge information
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 December 19, 2013.