Haves, Halves, and Have-Nots: School Libraries and Student Achievement in California Page: 37

An increasingly important consideration about the role of a library media center is the
technology to which it provides access and assistance in use. Clifton (2006) found that while the
socio-economic gap in students' physical access to technology was shrinking, there was a
persistent gap in students' ability to exploit technology for academic gain (See also Warschauer,
2000; Warschauer, Knobel, & Stone, 2004; Wenglinsky, 1998). One of Clifton's conclusions is
that it is in our schools where this digital divide may be most effectively addressed.
Valenza (2007) details the active, critical role library media specialists play in mediating
students' experiences in the virtual world. While the focus of her study is on the information-
seeking behaviors of high school students, the successes students in this study experience may be
attributed to the thoughtful construction of an information portal by an experienced library media
specialist. As R. Todd says, "Improved learning outcomes through information technology do
not happen by chance (1999, p. 4). Expanding on the part library media specialists play in
improved outcomes, Warnken (2004) says, "Librarians will continue to adapt to new
technologies and integrate them into instruction, recognizing that technology concepts and skills
are critical to educating information literate students-a role that has always been the purview of
the librarian" (p. 154).
There is some research to suggest school library media programs play an important role
in the effective use of technology. In a comparative study of two elementary schools, one in a
wealthy neighborhood and one in a poor neighborhood, Ryan (2006) reported that children's
access to technology was directly affected by the condition of the library program. In the school
with an library media specialist, students used computers more frequently, and used them to
complete more academically rigorous tasks, including research, writing, and homework. Ryan


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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/m1/51/ocr/: accessed February 19, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .