AASL launches survey because “School Libraries Count!”

Contact: Kathy Agarwal
Communications Specialist
For Immediate Release
January 12, 2007

AASL launches survey because “School Libraries Count!”

CHICAGO – The American Association of School Librarians (AASL), a division of the American Library Association (ALA), is launching a longitudinal survey of school library media programs at the ALA Midwinter Meeting in Seattle. The “School Libraries Count!” survey will open on January 18, 2007, and will gather data on changes in the field to gain understanding of the state of school library media programs nationally.

“The survey is one of the special projects AASL is undertaking as a result of its new strategic plan,” said AASL President Cyndi Phillip. “In 2006, the AASL Board of Directors approved a proposal that AASL conduct its own annual national sample survey of school library media programs to gain a better understanding of the field and trends for the future. We are asking for support from the AASL Board, committees, AASL affiliates and members to spread the word and get extensive and varied data for the survey.”

While national estimates will be developed on the basis of survey responses from a stratified random sample of public schools, all K-12 schools, public and private, are invited to participate on a voluntary basis. Private schools are being included in the survey with the endorsement and support of AASL's Independent Schools Section (ISS). The survey will be conducted annually and will result in a longitudinal series that will provide data on the health of the nation’s school library media programs.

The brief survey's 20 questions cover the library media center's hours, staff and selected staff activities, collection, technology, usage, and expenditures. These basic statistics will provide AASL and other advocates for school library media programs with critical data about the current and changing status of library media programs and library media specialists nationwide. The survey project will be conducted under contract by the RSL Research Group and headed by Keith Curry Lance, lead author of “How School Librarians Help Kids Achieve Standards: the Second Colorado Study” and several similar studies conducted in other states. More information about “School Libraries Count!” is available at http://www.ala.org/ala/aasl/schlibrariesandyou/schoollibrariescount/survey.htm.

The American Association of School Librarians, www.aasl.org, a division of the American Library Association (ALA), promotes the improvement and extension of library media 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 media field.