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School Libraries in Germany

This doctoral project deals with the supply and utilization of school libraries in Germany. In this context, it focuses on legal basic conditions and regional supply of school libraries as well as on the influence of school libraries on students’ reading behavior.

Project description

The Influence of School Libraries on Students’ Reading Behavior

The offer of school libraries as additional places of teaching and learning is currently becoming important for German educational authorities. This topic has recently seen renewed attention mainly due to the latest results of international comparative student achievement studies, in particular PISA and PIRLS. These studies have shown a substandard rate for school libraries in Germany. The main reasons are the absence of legal regulations regarding the structure of school libraries, the resulting heterogeneous regulations regarding respective responsibility, the lack of their inclusion into the curriculum, and the non-existence of mandatory standards concerning their equipment. As a consequence, a regionally diverse landscape of school libraries has developed, which incorporates a variety of service centers for school libraries on the one hand while on the other hand  there is a lack of information regarding the supply of school libraries and their availability to students.

Being an additional educational institution within the school and providing various opportunities for students to work and study, a school library can regulate the development of reading behavior. Several studies in the US and in Canada – where almost every school hosts a school library - have shown that students who attend regular lessons in school libraries exhibit a more positive reading behavior than students without such lessons in school libraries. In Germany, no studies on the supply and utilization of school libraries have been performed so far.
This doctoral project aims to connect legal and financial basic conditions with regional supply of school libraries and the individual users of school libraries, by following a macro, a meso, and a micro sociological approach. Hence the main research question is: Is there a correlation between the existence of a school library and the development of students’ reading behavior?

The analyses are based upon official databases compiled by the German states and the data collected in the framework of the “Schulleitungsbefragung” (National Report on Education 2012). Data gathered in the framework of the PIRLS survey 2001 and 2006 is used for the analysis of the influence of school libraries on students’ reading behavior.


This project is currently funded by budget resources until late 2013.

Project Management

Prof. Dr. em. Horst Weishaupt

Project Details

Completed projects
2012 – 2014
Department: Educational Governance
last modified Aug 04, 2017