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

and in fact found negative correlations between those scores and the presence of a school library,
video collections, reference assistance, and access to libraries in the afternoons.
At the high school level, Sinclair-Tarr and Tarr (2004) found no statistically significant
relationships between school library programs and student achievement in either mathematics or
language arts.
There are a series of significant limitations to the Sinclair-Tarr and Tarr (2004) study that
merit a second California study. Sinclair-Tarr and Tarr (2004) use the California education code
section 188810(u) to define a school library as "any library that is established to support the
curriculum-related research and instructional reading needs of pupils and teachers and provides
the collections, related equipment, and instructional services of a staff for an elementary or
secondary school." Sinclair-Tarr and Tarr (2004) add to their operational definition the presence
of a certificated library media teacher. But as the literature suggests, it may not be merely the
presence of certificated staff, but the level of that staffing which is the critical factor in a school
library program's ability to offer meaningful services and create a positive significant correlation
between that program and student achievement (Baumbach, 2003; Baxter & Smalley, 2003;
Brandes, 1987; Burgin et al., 2003; Callison, 2004; Hall-Ellis & Berry, 1995; Jenkins, 2000;
Lance et al., 1999; Lance, Hamilton-Pennell, & Rodney, 2005; Lance, Rodney, & Hamilton-
Pennell, 2000a, 2000b, 2001; Lance, Welborn, & Hamilton-Pennell, 1993; ; Loertscher, 1972;
Loertscher & Land, 1975; Loertscher et al., 1987; Martin, 1996; Ontario Library Association,
2006; Rodney et al., 2002; Smith, 2001).
Second, the Sinclair-Tarr and Tarr (2004) study does not account for interaction effects
among the elements of a school library program that may need to be present for a positive
statistical relationship between school libraries and student achievement to exist. Most notably,


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 28, 2014.