Tuesday, July 1, 2008


Stephen Krashen (University of Southern California), Syying Lee (National Taipei University), and Jeff McQuillan (Center for Educational Development) had a poster session at the American Library Association annual conference. The poster session title was "Is The Library Important? Multivariate Studies at the National and International Level." They presented findings from a number of studies. Dr. Krashen provided me copies of the research and handouts, and gave me his permission to share. A paper on the findings will be presented this August at the International Association of School Librarians.

Here are their conclusions:

The library emerged as a consistent predictor of reading scores for children in the United States taking a national reading test. Library quality was a significant and strong predictor of fourth grade (NAEP) reading scores, and was a predictor of the difference between fourth and eighth grade NAEP reading scores. This second result suggests that libraries play an important role in stimulating reading improvement in students between grades four and eight.

In a second report, Krashen, Lee and McQuillan reported that the library was also a strong predictor of reading scores for ten year olds in 40 different countries (data taken from the PIRLS study). These results are remarkable for several reasons:
  • The measures used were crude: library holdings, and even general circulation, in the case of public libraries.
  • The results held even when other powerful factors, such as poverty, were taken into consideration.
  • The results held both for students in the US, and for students in 40 different countries.
Bottom Line: We now have strong evidence that library quality is associated with reading ability in individual states (Keith Curry Lance's research), for the U.S. as a whole, and internationally.

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