Most people agree that ‘libraries are a good thing’ and most people would probably agree that the more you use the library and read for pleasure and learning, the more likely you are to have higher literacy levels. But often it’s hard to prove the links.
For the last few years JISC and other partners have been trying to prove the connections in relation to higher education libraries and educational attainment (see the Library Impact Data Project based at Huddersfield here, here and here), and today I came across a study which is trying to do similar with a school library.
As reported in the Guardian, at Monk’s Walk School in Hertfordshire, the librarian implemented a range of initiatives and impact measurement techniques in order to capture the actual benefits and impacts of using the library, particularly in terms of literacy development. Through statistics already gathered, a special survey, intervention activities for those children who had less interest in reading, and a number of other activities, the library was able to gather a range of useful data.
Last year they found that at the beginning of the year 37% of students had a poor attitude to reading. Through the intervention programme all of these students’ attitudes improved, with just under half going on to have an extremely positive attitude.
This seems like excellent evidence of the impact a library can have on literacy and educational attainment.
If you’re interested in this topic you may also want to look at a 2011 report and 2012 report from the National Literacy Trust on young people’s reading habits, public libraries, literacy and school attainment.