School Libraries & Education

Cartoon drawing of the outside of a school library.

ALA believes that every school should have an effective school library program. While reading and books are mainstays of the school library program, today’s effective school library programs are also sophisticated learning environments that provide the education and skill building to succeed in college and the workplace.

Data available from the Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) highlight the lack of support for too many of our students in thousands of schools across the country. NCES data reveals approximately 8,830 public schools across the nation do not have a school library. For those schools that do have a library, nearly 17,000 schools do not have a full or part-time state-certified school librarian on staff.

Research repeatedly shows that a well-funded and fully staffed school library with a state-certified school librarian is an integral component of a student’s education. Across the United States, studies have demonstrated that students in schools with effective school library programs learn more, get better grades, and score higher on standardized tests than their peers in schools without comparable resources.

ALA Key Communications

  • Executive Summary: "Fight for School Libraries" (September 2018)
  • 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) 
  • Coalition Letters to House and Senate Appropriations LHHS Subcommittees Requesting Robust Funding for the Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants (SSAEG), found in Title IV, Part A of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) (March 17, 2016)
  • Comments to the U.S. Department of Education on implementing programs under Title I of the Every Student Succeeds Act (January 21, 2016)
  • Comments on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of Education's "Draft Policy Statement on Family Engagement, From the Early Years to the Early Grades"(January 6, 2016)

Communications and Correspondence Archive