Jurnal Contoh

Pupils' reading is better in schools with a librarian: evidence from Slovenia (Research Note)

Silva Novljan : National and University Library in Ljubljana, Slovenia


Using data from a representative sample of schools that participated in the IEA
International Literacy Study, the importance of the librarian's contribution to the
development of reading was investigated by comparing the reading test results of
pupils who did not have access to a professional school librarian. The mean reading
test scores obtained by pupils in schools employing a professional librarian (n=86)
were found to be significantly higher than those obtained in schools where a teacher
was responsible for the school library (n=50).
La lecture des eÂleÁves est meilleure dans les eÂcoles ouÁ il y a un bibliotheÂcaire: preuves
venant de SloveÂnie
En utilisant les donneÂes d'un eÂchantillon repreÂsentatif d'eÂcoles ayant participe aÁ une

tude Internationale sur la lecture-eÂcriture de l'IEA, on a examine l'importance de la
contribution du bibliotheÂcaire au deÂveloppement de la lecture en comparant les
re sultats aÁ un test de lecture d'e leÁves ayant un bibliotheÂcaire professionnel employeÂ
dans la bibliotheÁque de l'eÂcole avec ceux d'e leÁves ne disposant pas de bibliotheÂcaire
scolaire professionnel. Les re sultats moyens au test de lecture obtenus par les e leÁves
des eÂcoles employant un bibliotheÂcaire professionnel (n=86) sont significativement
supeÂrieurs aÁ ceux obtenus dans les eÂcoles ouÁ un enseignant est responsable de la
bibliotheÁque de l'eÂcole (n=50).


At the primary level, a professional librarian employed in the school library is more
important for the development of reading literacy than a non-professional worker.
This conclusion is based on the results of an international reading survey (Elley,
1992) in which the respondents were 9-year-old pupils in the third-grade in
elementary schools in Slovenia. They were chosen for the following reasons.
. In relation to the level of development of school libraries, these children had
recent experience of its impact while learning to read.
. Experience of the library and the facilities it offers at the elementary level is
believed to be an important motivator for its later use.
. These pupils had already mastered the skill of reading; they had encountered
narrative and expository texts and documents and understood them.
. At this level, the factors connected with initial learning to read can still be
The reading demands on third-grade pupils do not exceed the current state of
development of the school library in Slovenia. With its library stock and methods of
work it can satisfy pupils' needs. Among the factors that are important for the
successful functioning of a library ± besides a library collection which is extensive and
well-organised ± is a trained librarian.
For the purposes of this study, the importance of the librarian's contribution to the
development of reading literacy was investigated by comparing the reading literacy
test results scored by pupils who had a professional librarian employed in the school
library with the results of pupils who did not have access to a professional school


The data used were those obtained from a representative sample of pupils in 139
Slovenian schools in the framework of the 1991 IEA international study on reading
literacy. In 1991 the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational
Achievement (IEA) carried out an international study on reading literacy in the
grade levels of 9- and 14-year-old pupils in order to determine the average level of
reading literacy and to identify important factors related to initial reading and
reading development. Slovenia participated in that study and its contribution was
organised by the Slovenian Centre for IEA Research based at the Institute for
Education in Ljubljana.
For the purpose of the international study, reading literacy was defined as `the
ability to understand and use those written language forms required by the society
and/or valued by the individual' (Elley, 1992, p. 3). Elley reported that third grade
pupils from Slovenia ranked the Slovenian educational system 20th among 27
educational systems with an average score of 498 points on the Rasch linear scale.
The results were reported on the Rasch linear scale with mean score of 500 points
and a standard deviation of 100 points. In Slovenia better reading test results were
closely related to the existence of large school libraries (approximately 7,000 books),
large classroom libraries (approximately 60 books) and regular effective lending of
For the purposes of the present study in Slovenia, the following question was
added to the international questionnaire: Who runs the school library? School
principals were asked to choose between: `librarian', `teacher' and `others'.
Librarian' was defined as a library worker with a library technician's diploma or
university-level study of librarianship; `teacher' was defined as a library worker
without specialist library knowledge, but who was qualified as a class or subject
teacher. `Others' were defined as workers who did not correspond to either of the
above definition. The replies were correlated with the reading literacy test results
The results from the three schools employing neither a teacher nor a librarian in
the library are ignored in the following analysis.
Pupils in the 86 schools with a librarian employed in the school library scored 12
points higher on average than the pupils in the 50 schools with a teacher employed in
the library. The difference was statistically significant (t=2.46, df=135, P50.05).
We also investigated whether the positive impact of the librarian's work was
noticeable in all environments. We calculated the mean scores by pupils in different
types of community and with a librarian or a teacher in the school library. The
results are shown in Table 2. ( missing)

Though the numbers of schools in some categories were small, nevertheless there
were two fairly clear tendencies:
(a) Overall results were poorest in the countryside and best in large towns.
(b) The presence of a librarian rather than a teacher had little influence in most
environments, but made a significant difference in large towns.


We drew the following conclusions from this research. They should be taken into
account in the development of school libraries and their contribution to the
development of reading literacy in children.
. A library worker trained in librarianship is a positive factor in the development of
reading literacy.
. Other important factors for the development of reading can correct the lack of
librarianship knowledge by the library worker but they cannot replace it
. The effectiveness of a school librarian's work is enhanced in urban environments
where other motivating factors and influences also come into play.