Why do we still need libraries in the 21st century? Here's some reasons why libraries matter....


Recent research has demonstrated that having a home computer offers little educational benefit for children(http://nyti.ms/cFkrXT). However having access to books at home can advance a child's education by an average of 3.2 years (http://bit.ly/bNxff9). OECD famously correlated reading and social mobility, and concluded "Finding ways to engage students in reading may be one of the most effective ways to bring about social change" (http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/43/54/33690904.pdf).  A 2009 report from the DCSF found that participation in positive activities such as reading was one of the factors affecting the social mobility of children from poorer families (Drivers and Barriers to Educational Success, http://www.ttrb.ac.uk/attachments/45f6f959-dbc1-49bb-92de-ccf055a97308.pdf).

The USA is far ahead of us in proving libraries' worth. Significant research has repeatedly demonstrated a clear link between good school libraries and student achievement. For an overview, see http://www2.scholastic.com/content/collateral_resources/pdf/s/slw3_2008.pdf. In the UK, research by the Robert Gordon University Impact of School Library Services on Achievement and Learning echoed the American findings: http://www4.rgu.ac.uk/files/Impact%20of%20School%20Library%20Services1.pdf.

Ofsted, in their 2006 report Good School Libraries: making a difference to learning, found a "direct link between well funded libraries and effectiveness" and that libraries and specialist librarians had "a positive impact on teaching and learning". They also noted that support and leadership from headteachers was "the most important factor in improving library provision". The report can be downloaded at http://www.ofsted.gov.uk/Ofsted-home/Publications-and-research/Browse-all-by/Education/Leadership/Governance/Good-school-libraries-making-a-difference-to-learning.

Meanwhile, the well-known "Google Generation" report highlighted some worrying trends in the information behaviour of young people in a digital era, including their "poor understanding of their information needs", their inability to evaluate information and their propensity to develop coping mechanisms that mask their low level of skills. The report boldly stated that "society is dumbing down" and stressed the importance of higher level information skills. This is bread and butter to librarians - we are the information experts! The Ciber Briefing Paper Information Behaviour of the Researcher of the Future can be downloaded at http://www.bl.uk/news/pdf/googlegen.pdf.


Make a Free Website with Yola.