In June 2015, the International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA) School Libraries Section Standing Committee released a new edition of the IFLA School Library Guidelines.
It is gratifying to see the work on which I’ve collaborated with my Library Research Service (LRS) and RSL Research Group colleagues over the past three decades cited frequently in this important document.
p. 13: “Research over the past four decades has shown that school libraries, properly staffed and resourced, can have a significant impact on student achievement. The most critical resource of a school library is a qualified professional school librarian who collaborates with other teachers to create the best possible knowledge-building and meaning- making learning experiences for students.”
p. 16-17: “More than 50 years of international research, collectively, … identifies the following features that distinguish a school library:
- It has a qualified school librarian with formal education in school librarianship and classroom teaching that enables the professional expertise required for the complex roles of instruction, reading and literacy development, school library management, collaboration with teaching staff, and engagement with the educational community.
- It provides targeted high-quality diverse collections (print, multimedia, digital) that support the school’s formal and informal curriculum, including individual projects and personal development.
- It has an explicit policy and plan for ongoing growth and development.”
p. 17: “Research shows that the potential of a school library for having an impact on student learning is dependent on the extent to which these features are present in a school. A school library operates as a:
- dedicated physical and digital space in a school that is open and accessible to all; information space providing equitable and open access to quality information sources across all media, including print, multimedia, and curated digital collections;
- safe space where individual curiosity, creativity, and an orientation toward learning are encouraged and supported and where students can explore diverse topics, even controversial topics, in privacy and safety;
- instructional space where students learn the capabilities and dispositions for engaging with information and for creating knowledge;
- technological space providing a diverse range of technology tools, software, and expertise for the creation, representation, and sharing of knowledge;
- literacy centre where the school community nurtures reading and literacy development in all its forms;
- centre for digital citizenship where the learning community learns to use digital tools appropriately, ethically, and safely, and learns strategies to protect identity and personal information;
- information environment for all in the community through equitable access to resources, technology, and information skills development that are not always available in homes; and
- social space open for cultural, professional, and educational events (e.g., events, meetings, exhibits, resources) for the general community.”
p. 18: “Research has shown that the most critical condition for an effective school library program is access to a qualified school library professional. A school library without a pedagogical program (i.e., planned comprehensive offering of teaching and learning activities) will not be able to have the kind of impact on teaching and learning that the research demonstrates is possible with a qualified school library professional who carries out the roles outlined in Section 3.4.”
p. 20: “Library Research Service [Colorado State Library, Colorado Department of Education]. School libraries impact studies. Retrieved from www.lrs.org/data-tools/school-libraries/impact-studies/”
p. 25-26: “However, more than 50 years of international research, collectively, … indicates that a school librarian requires formal education in school librarianship and classroom teaching that provides the professional expertise required for the complex roles of instruction, reading and literacy development, school library management, collaboration with teaching staff, and engagement with the educational community.”
p. 46: “There is a great deal of research related to the positive impact on student achievement of well- resourced school libraries staffed with professional school librarians. For example, see LRS (2015) School Libraries Impact Studies in the USA (www.lrs.org/data-tools/school-libraries/impact- studies) and Williams, Wavell, C., and Morrison (2013) in the United Kingdom (www.scottishlibraries.org/storage/sectors/schools/SLIC_RGU_Impact_of_School_Libraries_ 2013.pdf). …
Major findings from the last ten years of school library impact studies continue to confirm that the strongest impact on student achievement comes from school library programs with fulltime certified/qualified school librarians. Findings on the positive impact of the school library on student learning include helping to close the achievement gaps commonly seen for students who are poor, minority, and/or have disabilities. In addition to having fulltime certified/qualified school librarians, other school library factors that are correlated with improved student achievement include: collaboration, instruction, scheduling, access, technology, collections, budget, and professional development. Because well-resourced school libraries are now offering students and teachers access to resources and services online at any time, future research will be needed to evaluate how space, time, and use are impacted by digital possibilities.”
p. 52: “Haycock, K. (1992). What works: Research about teaching and learning through the school’s library resource center. Seattle, WA: Rockland Press.
Kachel, D. E., et al. (2013). School library research summarized: A graduate class project. Mansfield, PA: Mansfield University. Retrieved from http://sl-it.mansfield.edu/upload/MU- LibAdvoBklt2013.pdf.
LRS (Library Research Service, Colorado State Library, Department of Education). (2015). School libraries impact studies. Retrieved from www.lrs.org/data-tools/school-libraries/impact-studies.
… Williams, D., Wavell, C., & Morrison, K. (2013). Impact of school libraries on learning: Critical review of published evidence to inform the Scottish education community. Aberdeen, Scotland: Robert Gordon University, Institute for Management, Governance & Society (IMaGeS). Retrieved from www.scottishlibraries.org/storage/sectors/schools/SLIC_RGU_Impact_of_School_Libraries_2 013.pdf.”