CHICAGO — According to trend data collected by the American Association of School Librarians (AASL), library staffing, expenditures and physical usage remains consistent with 2011 results. The data also indicates connectivity to the school library continues to rise through increased networked computers in the school as well as remote access to school library databases. 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.
Although the average number of computers in school libraries in 2012 (29.29) is comparable to 2011 (27.9), the average number of school computers outside the library with networked access to library services has increased significantly. In the 2011 survey, respondents reported an average of 193.4 school computers with access to library services, while in 2012, 208.2 school computers were the average. This shows a 7.6 percent increase from the previous year and a 23.7 percent increase over the last five years
In addition to school computer access to library resources, the percentage of students able to access databases remotely continues to rise. From 2011 to 2012 the percentage of school library programs with remote access to their licensed databases rose 2 percent with 84 percent of respondents now offering this resource. Over the past five years this number has increased incrementally with a total 10 percent increase.
Other notable findings from the 2012 SLC survey show that overall, American school libraries are in a steady state with regards to the number of hours open, the average number of hours worked by total staff and the overall staffing levels. Library expenditures in information resources – print and non-print materials, licensed databases and other electronic access to information – is also consistent to previous years. A significant increase in the average number of books in school library collections was reported (12,989 in 2011 to 13,517 in 2012), however, at the same time, the overall average of copyrights remained the same. 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. While national estimates are developed on the basis of survey responses from public schools, all K-12 schools, public and private, were invited to participate on a voluntary basis. Data on this and previous School Libraries Count! longitudinal studies can be found at www.ala.org/aasl/slcsurvey.
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.