School Librarians and the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)

On December 10, 2015, President Obama signed the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) into law, which included school libraries in a number of the provisions. ESSA replaces the No Child Left Behind version of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act with language that ensures “effective school libraries” are addressed in state and local plans.

In the weeks and months ahead AASL will continue to examine ESSA, unpack the provisions for school libraries within the ESSA, and communicate how they will impact the school library community. AASL’s ongoing work with the ALA Washington Office, as well as the association’s partnerships with other educational organizations, will highlight opportunities within ESSA language for school library programs. Read more about the next steps in the link below for ESSA Opportunities for School Librarians.  

AASL Position Statements

Definition for an Effective School Library Program pdf icon
AASL supports the position that an effective school library program has a certified school librarian at the helm, provides personalized learning environments, and offers equitable access to resources to ensure a well-rounded education for every student.

Appropriate Staffing for School Libraries pdf icon
AASL supports the position that every student in every school, including independent schools and public charter schools, should have access to an updated school library with a certified school librarian.

Instructional Role of the School Librarian pdf icon
AASL supports the position that school librarians are instructors as well as collaborators with fellow educators in the pursuit of student learning in school libraries, classrooms, learning commons, makerspaces, labs, and virtual learning spaces. 

Preparation of School Librarians pdf icon
AASL supports the position that, in addition to meeting state certification requirements, school librarians hold a master’s degree or equivalent from a program that combines academic and professional preparation in library and information science, education, and technology. 

Role of the School Library Program pdf icon
AASL supports the position that an effective school library program plays a crucial role in preparing students for informed living in an information-rich society. 


Rule Making and Guidance

Response to the U.S. Department of Education's Request for Input on Areas of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) in which the Department could Provide Non-Regulatory Guidance to Support Inclusion of School Libraries and Librarians (May 25, 2016) 

Comments submitted to a notice of proposed rulemaking on the Every Student Succeeds Act: Accountability and State Plans (July 26, 2016)


Resources & Information

Sample Thank You Letter for Legislators word icon

ESSA Opportunities for School Librarians pdf icon

ALA Letter Providing Recommendations on Implementing Title I pdf icon

The Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015 (ESSA) Summary and Potential Implications created by the Texas State Library and Archive Commission pdf icon

AASL signs Title IV, Part A Coalition letter calling for SSAEG funding pdf icon


Latest Information

rss feed icon ESSA Updates from the ALA Washington Office: District Dispatch

rss feed icon ESSA Updates on Knowledge Quest


ALA Annual Conference Session Materials 

Unpacking ESSA for the Library Eco-System

Unpacking ESSA for the School Librarian