For immediate release | October 1, 2013

AASL awarded IMLS National Leadership Grant

CHICAGO – The American Association of School Librarians (AASL) has been awarded a National Leadership Grant for Libraries from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). AASL’s “Causality: School Libraries and Student Success (CLASS)” national research forum is one of 42 grants awarded by IMLS totaling more than 14.6 million dollars. National Leadership Grants for Libraries support projects that improve professional practice beyond the grantee institution.

AASL will use the $99,398 in grant monies to host a national forum to outline a research agenda for future school library research. While previous studies have suggested a correlation between increased student achievement and school libraries staffed by professional school librarians and containing adequate resources, a more rigorous experimental design strengthens findings for the school librarian profession. The national forum, in addition to a research agenda, will create an interdisciplinary networked community of researchers who will pursue research studies on student achievement that meet scientifically based empirical research models.

One of the goals of the forum is to create a rich and diverse community of researchers focused on causal research in school libraries that meet the rigorous criteria for scientifically based empirical research. Fifty active scholars from the school library and related research fields will be nominated to participate in the CLASS forum to be held in the spring of 2014. The forum will also provide the discussion necessary for the development of a white paper which will guide further inquiry.

“School library scholars have contributed to a strong body of research that shows the strong impact that school librarians have on school-wide student achievement,” said AASL President, Gail Dickinson. “It’s a logical step to now focus on the causal relationship between strong school libraries with professionally trained and certified school librarians and student learning. We expect that the CLASS white paper and the ensuring research agenda will clearly outline what school librarians do to create student learning opportunities. With the support of the ILMS grant, AASL looks forward to its continued role as leading school libraries into the future.”

The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 17,500 museums. Our mission is to inspire libraries and museums to advance innovation, lifelong learning, and cultural and civic engagement. Our grant making, policy development, and research help libraries and museums deliver valuable services that make it possible for communities and individuals to thrive. To learn more, visit and follow IMLS on Facebook and Twitter.

The American Association of School Librarians,, 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.


Jennifer Habley

Manager, Web Communications