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

between library media specialists and clerical staff: professionals spend more time on curricular
planning and implementation, materials selection, and acting directly as a student resource, while
clerical staff spend the majority of their time on library management tasks, such as checking out
and renewing books, issuing overdue notices, and other warehousing functions. In studies of
Indiana elementary schools measuring the perceptions of library media staff, teachers and
students regarding the services provided by the library media center, Loertscher and his
colleagues (Loertscher, 1973; Loertscher & Land, 1975) concluded that full-time library media
specialists provide a significantly greater number of services, both traditional and "cutting-edge"
(Loertscher & Land, 1975, p.16), than do either part-time professionals or full-time clerical staff.
In a later study of 146 of the 209 exemplary elementary schools identified by the U.S.
Department of Education during 1986, Loertscher, Ho & Bowie (1987) added evidence to the
contributions made by library media specialists and to the impact staffing levels have on this
contribution. Library media specialists responded to 19 Likert-scale statements about activities
they engaged in regarding instructional development, services to teachers and students, and
maintenance of the collection and answered three open-ended questions about their programs.
The researchers also gathered data on the size and composition of the library staff, including
number of full-time professionals, clerks and volunteers. This study confirmed earlier work
which showed that the total full-time equivalency (FTE) of all staff and volunteers predicts the
number and frequency of library services; and the FTE total of library media specialists predicts
the frequency of "cutting-edge" services (Loertscher et al., 1987, p.152). The authors also noted
that while integration of library media center materials into the curriculum was a prominent
feature of fully staffed library media programs, those services declined as staff was reduced.
Full-time library media specialists with adequate clerical support were able to integrate

59

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 23, 2014.