Date of Award

Spring 2020

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Teaching & Learning


Curriculum and Instruction

Committee Director

Sue Kimmel

Committee Member

Gail Dickinson

Committee Member

Shana Pribesh

Committee Member

Audrey P. Church


The purpose of this study was to determine if there is evidence that a full-time certified school librarian, trained and licensed based on state requirements, impacts fourth grade and fifth grade student scores on reading and/or mathematics end-of-year state achievement tests. Following over 30 years of school library impact studies, primarily correlational and qualitative studies, the school library field continues to have a lack of strong evidence of school librarian impact. This quasi-experimental matching design was conducted to determine if students who had full-time certified school librarians attained higher achievement scores than students who did not have full-time certified school librarians, through matching students based on age, gender, ethnicity, students with disabilities, English language learners, and economically disadvantaged status.

Independent samples t-test analyses using 14 databases of fourth and fifth grade students’ reading and mathematics end of grade achievement tests found that students with full-time certified school librarian scored higher than students without full-time certified school librarians, with scores that were statistically significant at p < .001. The effect size ranged from Cohen’s d = .08 to d = .25, all small effects. Additional analyses were conducted to determine if there was a difference between students in schools with a change in staffing of school librarians across a four year period. Students in 19 schools that had a full-time certified school librarian for two years scored higher, without significance, on both reading and mathematics tests than the students in the same schools after losing the librarian. Students in 6 schools who did not have a librarian for two years scored lower, without significance, on mathematics achievement tests than the students in their school after the school gained a full-time certified school librarian, but scored higher (p = .035) on the reading achievement test than the students in the school after their school gained a full-time certified school librarian. Overall results provide evidence that full-time certified school librarians have an impact on both students’ reading and mathematics achievement scores.


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