PA Research Study 2012 

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Supporting the Infrastructure Needs of 21st Century School Library Programs 

Pennsylvania Study


The Pennsylvania School Librarians Association (PSLA) along with the Health Science Library Consortium (HSLC) and the Education Law Center of Pennsylvania (ELC) obtained an Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) National Leadership Grant. The grant was for one year (2011-2012) but extended for another year (2012-2013).

The research consultants were Dr. Keith Curry Lance and the RSL Research Group, Colorado, with assistance from Dr. Mary Kay Biagini and the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Information Sciences.

Description of the Research

Using data from the recently concluded State Board of Education’s Pennsylvania School Library Study  and student test score data from the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA) reading and writing tests, the RSL Research Group will determine:

  • what infrastructure, defined as staffing, budgets, collections, technology, access hours, and professional development for librarians, is currently in place in highly performing Pennsylvania schools,
  • the costs and benefits associated with them, and
  • the gap between current Pennsylvania school library programs and what is needed to develop students with 21st century skills.

This quantitative work will be validated by a qualitative research phase with input from school librarians, teachers, and school administrators collected via electronic surveys. Additionally, experiences and thoughts from other education stakeholders, such as parents and community leaders, will be gathered during six regional focus groups at which information on the status of school libraries in Pennsylvania will be shared.


Creating 21st-Century Learners: A Report on Pennsylvania’s Public School Libraries

How Do School Libraries Help Pennsylvania Students Achieve Success? by Mary K. Biagini

How Pennsylvania School Libraries Pay Off: Investments in Student Achievement and Academic Standards (Research Report by Keith Curry Lance and Bill Schwaz)