“School Libraries Count!” study to close March 15

Contact: Melissa B. Jones


AASL Communications Specialist


(312) 280-4381


mjones@ala.org


For Immediate Release,


March 4, 2008


"School Libraries Count!" study to close March 15

CHICAGO - The American Association of School Librarians (AASL), a division of the American Library Association (ALA), is calling all school libraries to participate in the "School Libraries Count!" longitudinal study before it closes on March 15. Findings from the study, begun last year, already are being used in advocacy efforts like the one on behalf of Washington state school library media centers.




"Providing current, accurate data is critical to how we raise awareness about the needs and the value of school libraries and librarians," said Linda Collins, president of the Washington Library Media Association (WLMA). "When we examine staffing, resources, budgets and hours, we are able to more effectively interact with the decision makers - the Legislature, the school board and the community. Our goal is to show not only the value, but also the powerful impact, that school libraries and librarians have with our students."




The WLMA and a grassroots coalition founded by three moms called the Washington Coalition for School Libraries and Information Technology (WCSLit) have successfully worked to make school libraries a state funding priority. Their efforts led to the introduction of state Senate Bill 6380, which would provide all school districts with funding for a certain number of certified-teacher librarians, based on the size of the district, and allocate $12 per child for acquisition of materials.




Data from the first year of the study were cited in articles by
eSchool News,
Education Week and other publications. For more information on this effort, and the data behind it, go to
http://www.ala.org/ala/pressreleases2008/january2008/funding08.htm.




More than 4,500 responses were completed in the first year of the study.




All K-12 schools - public and private - are invited to participate on a voluntary basis. The brief survey's 22 questions cover the library media center's hours, staff and selected staff activities, collection, technology, usage and expenditures. New this year are questions about the role of social networking and other electronic tools used in instruction by library media specialists and their classroom teacher collaborators.




"The more we know, the more powerful advocates we can be for our libraries at the local, state and national levels," said Nancy Everhart, chair of the AASL Research and Statistics Committee. "Participation from those who completed the survey last year is equally valuable this year."




The survey 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/slcsurvey.cfm. The survey may be accessed directly at
http://www.aaslsurvey.org.




AASL 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.