CHICAGO – The American Association of School Librarians (AASL) has announced the launch of the fifth year of its longitudinal study. “School Libraries Count!” gathers basic data about the status of school library programs across the country. AASL will use this information to develop advocacy tools to support school library programs at the local, state and national levels. The survey may be accessed directly at www.aaslsurvey.org. The last day to complete the survey is March 18.
All K-12 schools - public and private - are invited to participate on a voluntary basis. Past participants' continued involvement is encouraged, since those responses are crucial to examining trends. The survey's questions cover the library program's hours, staff and selected staff activities, collection, technology, usage and expenditures.
“The continued high response from schools suggests that school librarians are anxious to share information about the conditions of their libraries. As AASL heads into the fifth year of the survey, participation is crucial to creating a comprehensive study of school library programs. This knowledge empowers AASL with the knowledge to advocate for the school librarian at a national level,” said Marcia Mardis, chair of AASL’s Research & Statistics Committee.
“Participation from those who completed the survey last year is equally valuable this year,” said AASL President Nancy Everhart. “Collecting current, accurate data is part of how we build the case for school libraries as we advocate for the needs and the value of school library programs and librarians at local, state and national levels.”
The survey will be conducted by KRC Research, an independent, third-party firm. More information about “School Libraries Count!” and its key findings from previous years is available at www.ala.org/aasl/slcsurvey.
Key findings from the 2010 survey indicate that school expenditures on information resources remain consistent to last year’s results; that high poverty school libraries have seen significant declines in collection size; and that total library staff hours are on the decline, with an average of 2.4 fewer hours reported in 2010 than 2009.
In 2010, supplemental questions on a current issue within the school library field focused on the impact of digital content and resources on school library programs and student learning. A key finding from these questions was that 61 percent of school library staff respondents provide professional development for teachers in the use of digital content. This year's study will include additional questions regarding digital citizenship in school library programs.
The American Association of School Librarians, www.aasl.org, a division of the American Library Association (ALA), promotes the improvement and extension of library services in elementary and secondary schools as a means of strengthening the total education program. Its mission is to advocate excellence, facilitate change and develop leaders in the school library field.