Haves, Halves, and Have-Nots: School Libraries and Student Achievement in California Page: 193
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members. Since the early 1980s there have been several studies offering evidence that principals,
in particular, exert a strong influence over the extent and quality of planning and teaching
collaborations between classroom teachers and library media specialists (Aaron, 1981; Farwell,
1998; Gehlken, 1994; Hartzell, 2003; Haycock, 1995; Mocek, 2002; Slygh, 2000; Tallman &
Donham van Deusen, 1994; Underwood, 2004; Yetter, 1994). In his 1995 literature review,
"Research in Teacher-Librarianship and the Institutionalization of Change," Haycock states that
"the role of the principal is the key factor in the development of an effective school library media
program" (p. 231). Yet a recent Indiana study (Lance, Rodney & Russell, 2007) about
principals' perceptions of library media specialists' roles indicate from survey data that nearly
90% of principals' knowledge of what library media specialists do comes from their experience
on the job, and just 7% of principals reported learning about school libraries through their own
coursework. At the high school level in California, the sheer number of library media
specialists, as well as the overall percentage, provides opportunities for many more principals
and other administrators to experience the beneficial effects of a well-run program first-hand,
and so may come to a school with a predisposition to support adequate staffing levels. But just
4% of this state's elementary school principals even have an opportunity to see a full-time library
media specialist in action, and just over 1% have an opportunity to observe a library media
specialist in action with a full-time clerical assistant. Elementary school principals cannot
support what they have not seen.
In spite of the low staffing levels at the elementary and middle school levels, results of
this study indicate that as the overall percentage of library media specialists at a grade level
increases, so does the strength of the association between school library program elements and
student achievement. The same trend holds for total staffing levels.
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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/m1/207/: accessed July 26, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .