|Chapter 2:||Framing the question: A review of the relevant literature|
They claim, “Decades of library media research findings indicate that one major factor that has demonstrated consistently a positive, strong, and statistically significant relationship to quality teaching is a close working relationship between the classroom teacher and the library media specialist” (p. 15). In particular, the Michigan study found that “the state’s high school librarians have a measurable, positive, and statistically significant impact on MEAP test scores that cannot be explained away by other conditions for which data are available” (p. 78). Using multiple regression analysis, they determined, “alone, school librarian hours per 100 students explains 2.7% of the variation in test scores” (p.88). This may be compared to the percentage of students eligible for the National School Lunch Program, which explains 39% of the variation, percentage of minority students explaining 5.1%, and per pupil school expenditures, explaining 3.1%.
In recent years, one of the primary reasons that students use the school’s media center is to access the Internet. Farmer (2002) describes observing high school students standing in line for twenty minutes to use an electronic encyclopedia, rather than resorting to the print version located near the computer. Lorenzen (2001) describes the confusion that high school students experience when left on their own to navigate the Web for research purposes. Librarians in schools have made progress in teaching students to use the Internet effectively as a powerful information tool. Craver (1998) describes successful instructional strategies for teaching Internet skills to high school students in order to prepare them for future research at the college level. Grant (2002) has posted Internet lessons online to share with peers, complete with PowerPoint slides, teaching instructions, handouts and evaluation checklist.
Librarians are also constantly vigilant of their responsibilities for ethical leadership in the Internet age. Johnson (2004) names five major ethical challenges for school library media specialists, filtering being first among them. The future of academic information is in the electronic format, thus it behooves media specialists and all other educators to teach secondary students the skills needed to access and use the power of electronic information.