AASL launches second year of longitudinal survey

Contact: Jonathan West

AASL Communications Manager

(312) 280-4389


For Immediate Release,

January 8, 2008

AASL launches second year of longitudinal survey

CHICAGO - The American Association of School Librarians (AASL), a division of the American Library Association (ALA), will launch the second year of its longitudinal study "School Libraries Count!" on Jan. 11. The survey will close March 15. The study will gather basic data about the status of school library media programs across the country, which AASL will then use to develop advocacy tools to support school libraries at the local, state and national levels. In addition, this year the survey will solicit information about the role of social networking and other electronic tools used in instruction by library media specialists and their classroom teacher collaborators.

"The value of longitudinal studies grows greatly over time, as we are then better able to track changes and trends," said AASL president Sara Kelly Johns. "More than 4,500 responses were completed in the inaugural year of the study. I hope we'll see twice the level of participation this year as we work to fill a significant gap in data about school libraries. The data from the longitudinal study will help both the profession and educational decision-makers understand the state of the nation's school library media programs."

Among the key findings from the first year are:

  • Half of responding library media centers (LMC) have almost one full-time-equivalent library media specialist (LMS)-37 hours per typical week -and total LMC staff hours of 40 hours per week. The top quarter of responding LMCs have a full-time LMS-40 hours per typical week-and almost two FTEs of total staff-74 hours per week.
  • Half of responding LMCs are available for flexible scheduling 19 hours per week-less than half the hours they are open. The top quarter are available for such scheduling 36 hours per week, and the top 5 percent are available 43.5 hours-in both cases, almost all of the hours they are open.
  • Half of responding schools reported collections of at least 11,500 books-or 18 volumes per student. The top quarter reported at least 15,000 volumes-or 25 per student- and the top five percent, at least 25,000 volumes-43 volumes per student.
  • Half of responding schools report at least 16 computers in the LMC and at least another 100 elsewhere in the school. The top quarter of respondents have at least 30 LMC computers and another 185 elsewhere in the school, while the top 5 percent have at least 64 LMC computers and another 450 elsewhere in the school.

All K-12 schools - public and private - are invited to participate on a voluntary basis. The brief survey's 20 questions cover the library media center's hours, staff and selected staff activities, collection, technology, usage and expenditures.

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

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.