Columbia, SC (WLTX) - A study released Tuesday by the South Carolina Association of School Librarians shows that the more emphasis is put on school libraries--and the learning that takes place there--the better scores students receive on standardized tests.
University of South Carolina Professor Dr. Karen Gavigan outlined the studies five areas of importance at a press conference Tuesday morning.
"The presence of librarians and library support staff, instructional collaboration between librarians and teachers, traditional and digital collections, library expenditures, and access to computers," she explained.
The study found that the schools which had these five components had better performance on the Palmetto Assessment of State Standards.
One of third-grader Tavetria Amponsah's favorite things to do is to go to the library and read. She attends Fairfield Magnet school for math and science where she is one of the best students in her class and where the library is at the heart of the school.
School Librarian Debbie Cooper says the learning that takes place there is guided by collaboration between her and the teachers, but driven by the students. "They are learning first of all how to narrow down a research topic then they are also learning how to do the research, what's the good place to go, what kinds of pieces of information, and how to evaluate a website," Cooper said.
Cooper says the libraries of today are not what many remember as children where you go and check out a book and leave. "It's not the place where it used to be where it was 'shhh', don't talk.' We don't do this. This is a really lively active place where active learning is taking place. Our kids are interacting. The instruction is driven by their interests and what they like to do."
On the day we visited her school, Leslie Tapia, a sixth-grader at Fairfield Magnet, was interested in learning about pandas. Mrs. Cooper guided her in the research.
At Deerfield Elementary in Lexington School District One, the library is called the "Learning Commons," Merri Anna Allred, the media specialist there, says even though the name of the library has changed over the years, the learning that takes place there is central to the school's success. "Across the state you are going to find different things, you're gonna find libraries, you're gonna find media centers and learning commons, but I think our goal across the state is going to be the same thing: tat we want our kids and our teachers using the space to help them become college and career ready students."
The study was conducted by research group RSL Research and consisted of surveys from librarians teachers and principals. those surveys were compared to the Palmetto Assessment of State Standard (PASS) scores data. Here is the link to the full study: http://www.scasl.net/the-south-carolina-impact-study