Haves, Halves, and Have-Nots: School Libraries and Student Achievement in California Page: 192
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on other learning goals. In the interim between the Sinclair-Tarr and Tarr study and now, school
library programs have increasingly focused on ways to facilitate increases in test scores. In
addition, the design of this study differed from the earlier study in some key ways. The authors
of the previous study (Sinclair-Tarr & Tarr, 2004) only examined the absence or presence of the
certificated librarian, rather than the levels of such staffing; nor were total staffing levels
considered as a variable. Furthermore, the control variable used, the School Characteristics
Index, did not, as a school-wide metric, account for the variances in the individual grade level
test scores used to measure student achievement. In addition to including levels of certificated
and total staffing as independent variables, the design of the current study also employs more
traditionally utilized school and community control variables.
In this study, the level of total staffing increased substantially by grade level. Out of
3,528 elementary schools participating in this study, just 43, or 1.2%, had at least full-time
staffing for both a clerk and a certificated school librarian. Out of 1095 middle school libraries,
102,or 8.5%, reported a full-time librarian and a full-time clerk. At the high school level, out of
987 school libraries, 299, or 30.3%--reported both positions filled full-time. The discrepancy in
these numbers suggests there is almost non-existent support for professional staffing at the
elementary level, and only poor support at the middle school level. The ability of a library media
specialist to be effective at an individual site depends upon more than just his own skills. He
must also work in a setting that values the role of the school library. Bell and Totten (1991), in
their study of school climate factors related to collaboration between classroom teachers and
library media specialists, provide evidence to suggest that the effectiveness of library media
specialists may be influenced by organizational and institutional characteristics that require the
attention of the principal and other site and district level administrators and school board
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Achterman, Douglas L. Haves, Halves, and Have-Nots: School Libraries and Student Achievement in California, dissertation, December 2008; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc9800/m1/206/: accessed May 29, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .