New research examines school librarian out-of-pocket spending during COVID-19

For Immediate Release
Mon, 09/19/2022


Allison Cline

Deputy Executive Director

American Association of School Librarians (AASL)


CHICAGO – Newly published research from the American Association of School Librarians’ (AASL) peer-reviewed online journal, School Library Research (SLR), examines how school librarians spent their own money to support their libraries during the 2020–2021 school year in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and the various factors that influenced this spending. Articles can be accessed for free at

In the recently published “The Personal Cost of Small Budgets & Underfunded Libraries: Out-of-Pocket Spending by School Librarians during COVID-19,” Jenna Kammer, Charlene Atkins, and Rene Burress present a study that used a convergence mixed-methods design to gather exploratory data on perspectives, details, and artifacts related to how school librarians used personal funds to purchase school-related items during the pandemic.

The research team presents findings that school librarians used their own money to meet student needs, to get what was needed quickly and conveniently, to obtain items for which they were not allowed to spend school money, and to avoid dealing with time-consuming purchasing and reimbursement processes—if reimbursement was even an option. School librarians also spent their own money because library budgets were eliminated, reduced, or frozen during the pandemic. Findings also showed for those school librarians spending their own money, that the most money was by those who worked in rural areas with a higher proportion of students who qualify for free/reduced lunch.

School Library Research (ISSN: 2165-1019) is the successor to School Library Media Research (ISSN: 1523-4320) and School Library Media Quarterly Online. The journal is peer-reviewed and indexed by H. W. Wilson's Library Literature and by the ERIC Clearinghouse on Information & Technology. It welcomes manuscripts that focus on high-quality original research concerning the management, implementation, and evaluation of school libraries.

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