MANSFIELD, Pa., May 10 (UPI) -- A review of studies in 22 U.S. states and one Canadian province found when spending for school libraries rises, better reading scores follow, researchers say.
Debra E. Kachel, a professor at Mansfield University, and colleagues examined and summarized the results of 23 U.S. and Canadian studies mostly done in the last decade. Most examined student standardized test scores.
The study, prepared for the Pennsylvania School Librarians Association, said all studies found positive links between library support and learning.
For example, a California study in 2008 established a strong positive relationship between school library budgets and test scores in language arts and history.
In Illinois, a 2005 study found elementary schools that spent more on their libraries had almost 10 percent higher writing performance and for middle schoolers the average was 13 percent higher.
In a 2000 Pennsylvania study, researchers found schools that spent more money on their school library programs had higher student achievement on reading scores, while a 2004 Minnesota study discovered a statistically significant relationship at the elementary level between higher reading scores and larger school library budgets.
In state after state, the findings showed socioeconomic conditions could not explain away the impact of school library programs, the researchers said.
"In fact, quality school library programs may play an even greater role for students from economically disadvantaged backgrounds," Kachel says.