Creating the Future: A 2020 Vision Update at 2013 New York Library Association Conference

More than 100 people attended the update on Creating the Future implementation during the 2013 NYLA Annual Conference in Niagara Falls. Attendees heard from John Hammond, Regents Advisory Council on Libraries (RAC) Chairperson and Jeffrey W. Cannell, Deputy Commissioner for Cultural Education. John Hammond summarized the outcomes of the June 2013 RAC report to the Board of Regents Cultural Education Committee.

In addition RAC members, John Monahan, Mary Muller, and Bridget Quinn-Carey, who chair Creating the Future Implementation Working Groups, reported on progress to date. Sheryl Knab, Director, Western New York Library Resources Council updated attendees on the implementation status of the I2NY report recommendations, which are closely aligned with Creating the Future. Topics included school libraries, public library districts, services to youth and young adults, and academic libraries. Deputy Commissioner Cannell wrapped up the event by discussing immediate next steps in making the recommendations in Creating the Future a reality.

The handouts from the program, which include the RAC report to the Board of Regents Cultural Education Committee as well as proposals for youth services may be found at

Thank you to the RAC members, members of the Implementation Working Groups and others in the library community who are working so hard on implementing the 60 recommendations in Creating the Future.

Bernie Bernard A. Margolis


New IMLS Report Highlights Roles of Libraries and Museums in Preparing Young Children for Success

Growing Young Minds, a new report released by the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) highlights several New York libraries and museums! The report offers several examples of how libraries and museums are partnering with schools and parents to encourage the development of skills necessary for a lifetime of learning. The report also discusses ten key ways libraries and museums are helping to develop a strong start for young children’s learning with concrete examples of programs that are already in place in museums and libraries around the country.

The report also presents a list of recommendations for federal policy makers, state policy makers, communities, districts, schools, museums and libraries, parents, and funders to increase awareness and access to early learning programs at museums and libraries and to ensure the development of new early learning programs.

The full report may be found at

New Jersey Study Highlights Contributions of School Libraries

The New Jersey Association of School Libraries (NJASL) recently released the findings of a 2010-2011 survey which looked at the contributions of school libraries. The NJASL noted that many recent studies have shown that well-funded school libraries have a positive impact on student achievement, so the NJASL wanted to examine how school libraries contribute to schools. The study was done in two phases. The first phase in 2010 was a survey of more than 700 librarians representing approximately 30% of school libraries in New Jersey. The second phase, which took place in 2011, was a series of focus groups with administrators, teachers, and school librarians.

The study focused on answering two questions: “What does a good school library look like?” and “What role does a good school library play in educating New Jersey students?” The study found that a good school library helps to educate students in a variety of ways. A good school library helps students to meet core curriculum standards, master information literacy competencies, develop familiarity with the research process, use information ethically, use technology responsibly, and read for learning. The study found that school libraries are seen as necessary learning environments which teach students skills such as evaluating information quality and the use of 21st century technology in research.

The first question, “What does a good school library look like?” had a more complicated answer. School libraries were viewed by participants in the study as “21st century classrooms that provide the information- and technology-rich learning environments” and as “learning centers linked to the learning going on in the school and the learning success of the school.” The study found that a good school library provides a place for instruction and collaboration for everyone in the school.

The study also briefly looked at the future of school libraries. Participants saw a need for more space in libraries for things like writing labs, more computers, and instructional areas. They also wanted more staffing to help with instruction of teachers and students and to provide more one-on-one assistance.

To read the full study or for more information, go to

Pennsylvania Study Concludes School Librarians Boost Student Achievement

A recent article in School Library Journal, titled Latest Study: A Full-Time School Librarian Makes a Critical Difference in Boosting Student Achievement, discusses a study finding that school libraries and librarians have a positive impact on student achievement.

The Pennsylvania School Librarians Association (PSLA), Education Law Center (ELC) and Health Sciences Library Consortium were awarded a National Leadership research grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) for this study. By analyzing the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA), which measures reading, writing, math, and science achievement for schoolchildren, this study determined that “reading and writing scores are better for students who have a full-time certified librarian than those who don’t.” Research showed that having a school librarian affected writing scores more than reading scores, indicating that writing scores may be a better indicator of a student’s understanding of 21st Century Learner and Pennsylvania/Common Core Standards.

Since the PSSA “maintains separate test scores for subgroups of students who are economically disadvantaged, black, Hispanic, and have Individualized Education Programs (IEPs),” researchers were also able to analyze the affects of a full-time school librarian on these populations. Findings show that these students befitted proportionally more than other students, indicating that school libraries and librarians can play a major role in closing the achievement gap.

When the study initially began, researchers discovered that many lawmakers were ignorant to the struggles facing school libraries in that many did not know that schools were not required to have libraries, while others were unaware of how quickly school library programs were being cut. This led researchers to conclude that the role of the school librarian in sharing these findings and advocating for full-time positions is necessary to increase student achievement.

To read the full article, visit:

New Infographic Makes the Case for School Librarians

Library Research Services (LRS) has released a new infographic demonstrating the positive effects of school librarians on student achievement. Based on two decades of national and Colorado-based research studies, this infographic links school librarians to higher test scores.

Please feel free to share this infographic with your patrons, colleagues, school faculty, and students, as well as any non-library users!

To print and view the infographic, visit:


Celebrate National Digital Learning Day!

Today is the second annual National Digital Learning Day! This event celebrates innovative teaching practices that encourage exploration of digital learning, emphasizing how it can provide students with crucial skill sets and increased opportunities. Digital Learning Day recognizes all educators and the successful use of technology in the classroom. Educators are encouraged to participate and personalize the day to inspire students, parents, principles, teachers and other educators to embrace digital learning.

School librarians are a key contributor to digital learning, particularly when it comes to the digital divide faced by many at-risk students. The New York Comprehensive Center outlined the benefits of school librarians in terms of digital literacy in their document, Informational Brief: Impact of School Libraries on Student Achievement ( NYCC states, “school libraries are important in supporting the development of 21st century skills, including those that require technological literacy.” The National Digital Learning Day can help recognize the role school libraries play in the development of these skills, and I hope many New Yorkers will participate.

National Digital Learning Day is presented by the Alliance for Excellent Education and other national educational organizations. The American Library Association’s American Association of School Librarians, as well as teachers and other educators are key partners is promoting the event.

For more information on National Digital Learning Day, including toolkits, advocacy tools and current news, visit:


Bernard A. Margolis

Assistant Commissioner for Libraries and State Librarian

PA Study Finds Full-Time Librarians Increase Student Achievement

A PA study from the Colorado-based RSL Research Group indicates that access to a full-time school librarian positively impacts student achievement. Students in grades 3 to 11 with such access scored higher on the 2010-2011 Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA) tests in Reading, “regardless of socioeconomic, racial/ethnic and/or disability status.” In addition, “nearly twice as many high school students who have access to a full-time, certified librarian scored Advanced on the PSSA Writing test as those students without access to a full-time, certified librarian…”

Tests were examined based on five factors relating to school libraries. These factors were:

  • Staffing
  • Collections
  • Digital Resources and Technology Infrastructure
  • Library Access
  • Funding

Access to a full-time, certified librarian had the greatest impact on student achievement. These results support recommendation number 11 from Creating the Future, which states, “Expand the existing Commissioner’s Regulations (91.2) to require an elementary school librarian in every school to strengthen instructional leadership in meeting the P-12 Common Core Learning Standards, and enforce library staffing regulations in all public schools.” Recommendation 11 has been named the main priority recommendation for school libraries in implementation. (To see the full list, visit:

For more information on this study, visit:

For additional studies on the effects of school libraries and librarians, check out NYCC’s Informational Brief: Impact of School Libraries on Student Achievement at:


Bernard A. Margolis

Assistant Commissioner for Libraries and State Librarian