AASL survey shows students and families have increased access to school library resources
For Immediate Release
CHICAGO - According to trend data collected by the American Association of School Librarians (AASL), technology acquisitions in school libraries across the nation appear to be leveling, while remote access to school library databases is rapidly increasing. Data was collected as part of AASL’s national longitudinal survey, School Libraries Count! (SLC), conducted yearly since 2007. More information on the background, methodology, and history of the survey – including past reports – is available on the AASL website at www.ala.org/aasl/slcsurvey.
Sixty-five percent of respondents taking part in the inaugural SLC survey in 2007 indicated that their students had access to their school library’s licensed databases remotely (i.e., from any computer with access to the internet). A steady increase in remote access was noted each subsequent year, with the 2011 results reporting that 82 percent of libraries participating in the survey now make databases available to students outside of the school confines.
The availability of remote database access rises with school level. In 2011, participants reported 78 percent of elementary schools, 85 percent of middle schools, 90 percent of high schools and 72 percent of combined schools offered offsite access to licensed databases. The largest expansion in access since the launch of the SLC survey was seen in elementary school libraries, with a 21 percent increase in availability between 2007 and 2011. Other notable increases were seen in middle schools (15 percent) and combined schools (14 percent).
While still significantly higher than reported in 2007, remote access in schools in the western region of the United States decreased by 6 percent between 2010 and 2011. In 2007, six in 10 respondents in the western states reported that their students had access to licensed databases outside of the school building. This percentage steadily grew through 2010, when 81 percent of schools offered access. While access dropped to 75 percent of respondents in the western region in 2011, other regions of the United States remained constant (Midwest) or increased (Northeast and South).
Other notable findings from the 2011 SLC survey include a leveling off in the overall average number of computers in school libraries after three years of significant increases (0 percent), an increase in the average hours worked by the school librarian (32.0 hours) – including an increase in time spent delivering instruction (15.3 hours), a decrease in average hours worked by other library staff (15.7 hours) and an increase in the average copyright year for the Dewey range 610-619, health and medicine (1997). A full report of findings is available on the AASL website at www.ala.org/aasl/slcsurvey.
The School Libraries Count! National Longitudinal Survey of School Library Programs aims to gather data on changes in the field to gain understanding of the state of school library programs nationally. National estimates are developed on the basis of survey responses from K-12 schools, public and private, who were invited to participate on a voluntary basis. AASL sponsors the School Library Counts! longitudinal survey to provide data on the health of the nation's school library programs and to inform library practice. Data on this and previous School Libraries Count! longitudinal studies can be found at www.ala.org/aasl/slcsurvey. Respondents that participated in the 2011 survey will have access to personalized reports that will compare data to schools of similar level and size in their state and nationally. As a bonus, AASL members can download a PDF with their personalized information in a format suitable for presentations and reports.
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.