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

instruction with library media center materials by taking advantage of flexible schedules that
allowed individuals, small groups and whole classes to have access to the library all day long,
but in schools with inadequate staffing, such integration of instruction was a remote possibility,
not a reality. The authors offer this critical conclusion about staffing levels:
There seems to be a threshold at which the library media program begins to pay the kinds
of dividends expected from the investment made in it. This threshold is a staff consisting
of a full-time professional and a full-time clerical person. This finding was not only
statistically significant but was the single most important variable in an excellent library
media program. Having a fine facility stocked with ample materials and equipment is
essential, but without the critical staffing component, services suffer and the impact on
education is drastically lowered (Loertscher et al., 1987, p.152).
Other studies support the conclusion that the library media specialist's involvement with
learning and teaching is dependent on adequate staffing. In California, a survey study of library
media programs throughout the state reported that the frequency and number of instructional
services in school libraries were directly associated with the presence of certificated staff.
(Brandes, 1987). 72 % of school libraries with certificated staff, for example, routinely offered a
sequential program of library skills instruction, compared to 34 % of libraries without
certificated staff; 65 % with certificated staff routinely coordinated library skills instruction with
classroom instruction, while 30 % without certificated staff did so (Brandes, 1987). Based on
her own dissertation work on staffing patterns for school librarians and her review of the relevant
research, Aaron (1981) concluded, "The frequency with which the school library media special
assumes an active role in curriculum and instruction is directly related to the size of the media
staff' (p.281). Zweizig' s 1999 review of Library Power schools includes the finding that
elementary school libraries with fixed scheduling of classes, which restricts the library media
specialist's instructional role and ability to respond to a range of demands (see Donham van


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 August 28, 2015.