For immediate release | September 10, 2020

For school librarians, learning continues no matter the environment

CHICAGO – Results from an American Association of School Librarians (AASL) back-to-school survey show that school librarians are continuing to adapt and evolve to provide consistent learning for their students in response to the changing COVID-19 landscape. The survey collected responses from building-level school librarians, district supervisors, and educators of school librarians on school/school library opening, school library space and use, expected collection loss, and budgeting. Full back-to-school survey results can be found at

Of 1,117 respondents, the majority will start the school year with a completely remote schedule or a hybrid schedule, which includes a remote learning option. A small percentage (8% district-level, 6% building-level) reported a return to school full time with no changes. Sixty-two percent of district-level and 36% of building-level respondents noted parents, guardians, or caregivers can choose whether their children return to the building or learn remotely.

Only 17% of district-level and 12% of building-level school librarians reported their school library would be fully open and operational with no changes. Comparatively 45% of district-level and 29% of building-level school librarians reported their school libraries would be open although no activities would be allowed, and 25% of district-level and 17% of building-level school librarians reported the school library space would be used for non-library classes. School librarians whose school library will be closed or used for classroom space plan to meet learner needs by taking book carts to classrooms for in-class check-outs (50%) and continuing to teach remotely (55%) or co-teaching with classroom teachers (38%).

“When schools first began to close due to the pandemic, school librarians responded by shifting their teaching methods,” said AASL President Kathy Carroll. “Now that we are returning to school, we continue to broaden our outreach and adapt to serve the evolving needs of those in our learning communities. Along with teaching in classrooms and supporting our educator peers with resources and technical support, school librarians are being creative with our collections! In accordance with our individual reopening guidelines, we are still providing resources to our learners. Whether it is offering curbside or drive-thru pick-up or drop-off, concierge services, or delivering materials to classrooms, we are adapting to our new reality while continuing to provide essential services."

The first of AASL’s back-to-school snapshot surveys ran August 5-12. All 50 states were represented in the 1,117 respondents, which included building-level school librarians (83%), district supervisors (12%), and educators of school librarians (university/college) (4%). Building- and district-level respondents represent public schools (89%), private/independent schools (10%), and public charter schools (1%). The next snapshot survey will open September 10 and close September 17.

The American Association of School Librarians,, a division of the American Library Association (ALA), empowers leaders to transform teaching and learning.


Jennifer Habley

Manager, Web Communications

American Association of School Librarians (AASL)