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NJASL Announces CISSL Statewide Study of NJ School Libraries
December 3, 2010

Study reveals contributions to intellectual development of students, inequities in available resources

- Given the economic challenges facing the Nation and the state, today’s poor economic climate creates both challenges and opportunities for schools. The Center for International Scholarship in School Libraries (CISSL) has published findings from Phase 1 of its study One Common Goal: Student Learning, which shows New Jersey school library programs staffed by certified school librarian media specialists are cost-effective in helping students achieve higher standards and critical for the intellectual, social, and cultural development of students.

“School librarians have known for a long time that we contribute to student learning. An already large body of research shows a strong positive correlation between student achievement on standardized tests and well-funded school library programs provided by certified school library media specialists.” said Judith Everitt, President of NJASL. “Our challenge is to change the incorrect public perception of a school library as a warehouse of books to a more accurate understanding of the school library program as an active teaching and learning environment.”

The study surveyed the status of school library programs in New Jersey schools in the spring of 2009, concluding Phase I in July. The study found that school librarians help students to:

  • Master content knowledge;
  • Develop the ability to manage inquiry and research processes;
  • Become competent in deriving information from a range of resources;
  • Develop the critical thinking processes of analyzing, organizing, and synthesizing information and representing the resulting knowledge in a variety of ways;
  • Develop positive and ethical values about working with information and with each other; and enjoy reading more, more widely, and with more discrimination.

CISSL also examined school library budgets, and the size and age of library collections. The survey revealed that most school libraries in New Jersey have a large percentage of age sensitive materials that have copyright dates older than the recommended three to five years.  In analyzing the number of books in school libraries’ collections as well as the age of the books, by District Factor Group (DFG), the study revealed that due to disparities in local school library budgets, students in communities of lower socioeconomic status depend on both smaller and older school library collections than their peers in more affluent communities.

CISSL Director, Ross Todd, noted that “school library budget inequities affect the most vulnerable socioeconomic populations, for whom school libraries may be the only access to the world of reading, by providing them with fewer books from which to choose, and a greater percentage of books with outdated information.”

Phase II of the CISSL study is presently underway. It will assess in greater depth the ways in which a school library program contributes to student learning and ensures that today’s students become responsible, ethical users of information and are prepared to meet the challenges of higher education and the workplace.

To access Phase 1 of the CISSL survey, visit http://cissl.rutgers.edu/docs/NJASL_Phase_1.pdf

ABOUT NJASL

New Jersey Association of School Librarians (NJASL)  is the professional organization for school librarians in the state of New Jersey. NJASL advocates high standards for librarianship and library media programs in the public, private, and parochial schools in New Jersey to ensure that students and staff become effective users of information. Learn more about New Jersey Association of School Librarians, visit www.njasl.org and join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter.

ABOUT CISSL

The Center for International Scholarship in School Libraries (CISSL) is the leading international research organization based at Rutgers the State University of New Jersey. CISSL’s mission is to produce and share rigorous research on the dynamics of school libraries and student learning.

Last Updated ( Sunday, 02 January 2011 )
 

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