Plinius

Friday, November 26, 2010

PL 74/10: British study supports school libraries

Filed under: education, statistics — plinius @ 10:33 am

The link between learning and libraries has always been important.

Today, as we move from late industrial society into the early stages of a knowledge-based economy, the link grows stronger.  This intensifies the pedagogical – or productive – role of school libraries. Teachers, head masters, local authorities and central governments ask themselves: what does – or could – school libraries contribute to the success of our school.

On Monday November 29, I’ve been invited to discuss school library statistics at a board meeting of the school library association (NBF Skole). Number crunching as such has limited value. We need numbers that tell stories.

I was therefore happy to see that the School Libraries Commission in Great Britain has just released its report on the impact and role of school libraries.

Some of their conclusions are given below:

  • This report has shown that most young people use the school library.
  • They use it because it gives them easy access to books, because it is a friendly space and because they believe that the school library, and by default reading, will help them do better at school.
  • Those who use the school library are more likely to enjoy reading, to rate themselves as better readers and to think more positively about reading compared with their peers who do not make use of the school library.
  • There is a clear link between attainment and school library usage. Young people with a reading age above the expected level for their age are twice as likely to be school library users as their peers with a reading level below that expected for their age.
  • These links are not necessarily causal, but they suggest that school libraries have a vital role to play in the reading patterns of those pupils who not only use the school library but who also have higher literacy levels.

APPENDIX

The Tables and comments below are copied from the National Literacy Trust research report into young peoples’ attitudes to school libraries

  • Clark Christina (2010). Linking school libraries and literacy. Young people’s reading habits and attitudes to their school library.

For ease of reading, I have rounded off percentages to two (rather than three) significant digits.

School library users and non-users
and young people’s reading enjoyment, self-reported reading ability and reading frequency

(Table 6)

School library users 

%

Non school library users 

%

Being a reader 76 50
Enjoying reading either very much or quite a lot 69 31
Rating themselves to be not very good readers 4.6 8.9

Reading outside of class every day

38 22
  • Young people who use the school library tend to hold more positive attitudes towards reading than young people who do not use it
  • Nearly three times as many young people who do not use the school library agree with the statement that reading is boring than do school library users.
  • Non school library users are also twice as likely to agree with the statements that they only read in class and that they only read because they have to than are young people who use the school library.
  • School library users are more likely than non school library users to agree with the statement that reading helps them to find the information that they need or want.

School library users and non-users
and their attitudes towards reading
(% agreement) (Table 7)

School library users 

%

Non school library users 

%

Reading is more for girls than boys

11 16

Reading is boring

13 33

Reading is hard

7.7 11

I cannot find anything to read that interests me

25 34

I only read in class

11 2

I only read when I have to

20
40
I do not read as well as other pupils in my class 25 30

Reading helps me find what I need/want to know

73 55
  • Generally, reading is seen to be important to succeed in life by both those who use the school library and those who do not.
  • However, young people who use the school library are more likely to believe that reading is either very important or important to succeed in life (93%) compared with young people who do not use the school library (83%).

Reading attainment and school library use

  • There was a very strong relationship between reading attainment and school library use
  • young people who read below the expected level for their age being almost twice more likely to say that they are not a school library user, and
  • those who read at or above the expected level being nearly three times more likely to say that they are school library users.
  • while school library use is related to attainment, our research design can make no inference about [the direction of] causality:
    • higher attainment may lead to school library use or greater school library use may lead to higher attainment.

Percentage of young people who read below or at or above the expected level
and whether they are a school library user or not

(N = 4,503). (Table 8)

School library user 

%

Non school library user 

%

Below expected level for their age 36 64

At expected level for their age

72 28

Above expected level for their age

78 22

 

2 Comments »

  1. […] PL 74/10: British study supports school libraries […]

    Pingback by P 162/10: Medspiller eller løperjente? « Plinius — Friday, November 26, 2010 @ 1:41 pm

  2. […] PL 74/10: British study supports school libraries […]

    Pingback by ST 65/10: Statistikk for skolebibliotek « Samstat — Saturday, November 27, 2010 @ 2:25 pm


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