Open and Shut Case

Date

2024-05-29

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Abstract

School libraries have recently found themselves involved in controversies surrounding book selection policies and relevance in an information rich world. In Texas, the superintendent of Houston ISD opted to shutter several of the district’s libraries and replace them with disciplinary centers. The shuttering of libraries has been happening throughout Texas schools. While some studies have looked at academic outcomes related to staffing and practices of school libraries, this study proposes to analyze outcomes for students when school libraries close. Using a comprehensive dataset from the University of Houston Education Research Center, which includes state-wide data for all Texas public school students, this study applies an advanced difference in differences model with multiple time periods to analyze the impact on academics and discipline when school library programs are stopped. While stopping a program had little correlation with discipline other than in urban schools, early literacy achievement experienced declines by year five.

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Keywords

libraries, education policy, achievement, discipline

Citation