School libraries in Baltimore, Maryland are participating in a project through the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation and BERC (Baltimore Education Research Consortium). According to their site, the project is designed “to evaluate the impact of these spaces within the school community.” An evaluation has been completed on three newly-remodeled libraries in Baltimore.
Released in January of 2014 by BERC, A Library They Deserve: The Baltimore Elementary and Middle School Library Project shares data from interviews with school principals, librarians, teachers, students, and partners. The interviews were conducted to examine “the experiences of the principals, librarians, teachers, and students at the three schools that received new libraries.” Data also came from “two schools that agreed to participate and function as comparison sites.” The report highlighted four major findings:
- All three schools with a new library viewed them as inviting, attractive, and well-resourced spaces
- A knowledgeable, skilled, and motivated library staff is essential to maximizing the potential of these new libraries
- Librarians and teachers need additional professional development to best integrate the library technology into instruction
- The community partnerships initiated through this project are adding significant resources to the education of students in these schools.
Revised in August of 2013, School Library Impact Studies: A Review of Findings and Guide to Sources was commissioned by the Weinberg Foundation “to demonstrate the process used to develop effective libraries and to ensure [the foundation was] following best practices in the field.” The Foundation provides this document as well. It highlights studies related to access, budget, collaboration/cooperation, environment, instruction/information literacy curriculum, learning and motivation, outreach/community, poverty, resources/collection development, staffing, technology, and usage.
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