On May 4, 2019, the Representative Assembly of the New York State Union of Teachers met in Albany and passed unanimously a resolution titled Certified School Library Media Specialists and School Libraries Throughout NYS.
The first Whereas reads:
Whereas, based on the findings of the Information Brief: The Impact of School Libraries on Student Achievement published by the New York Comprehensive Center (August, 2011); extensive research shows that schools that have relied on their libraries to support student growth, specifically in areas of literacy, information literacy, technological skills and access to resources and equipment, have seen increased motivation, higher assessment scores, and ultimately, higher graduation rates; …
The resolution mandates full-time certified school librarians at every school library, first among many good things.
The NYCC information brief cites liberally the School Library Impact Studies conducted since 1993. It drew on the School Library Research Summarized meta-analysis produced by Debra E. Kachel and her Mansfield University students as well as Scholastic Library Publishing’s School Libraries Work! digest of the same body of research. (Note: Links provided to these two documents are to more recent editions.)
The studies cited in the NYCC information brief which I led or in which I was involved with my Library Research Service or RSL Research Group colleagues include those done in Alaska, Colorado (the first 3 of 4 studies), Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Oregon, and Pennsylvania (the first of 2 studies). Studies by other research teams are also cited.
As this resolution demonstrates, while research evidence can help to persuade decision-makers, such success depends primarily on passionate and persistent advocates to make a compelling case that research findings justify the action being requested.
Congratulations to all the New York State school library advocates responsible for this noteworthy victory. That this resolution was passed unanimously is an extraordinary success.