AASL launches third year of longitudinal study

Contact: Melissa B. Jacobsen

AASL Communications Specialist

(312) 280-4381



For Immediate Release

January 28, 2009

CHICAGO – The American Association of School Librarians (AASL) will launch the third year of its longitudinal study on Jan. 27. "School Libraries Count!" gathers basic data about the status of school library media programs across the country. AASL will use this information to develop advocacy tools to support school library media programs at the local, state and national levels. The survey may be accessed directly at
http://www.aaslsurvey.org. The last day to complete the survey is March 12.

All K-12 schools - public and private - are invited to participate on a voluntary basis. Past participants' continued involvement is encouraged, since those responses are crucial to examining trends. The survey's questions cover the library media program's hours, staff and selected staff activities, collection, technology, usage and expenditures.

AASL President Ann M. Martin said, "The longitudinal study gathers data relevant to student learning and quality library media programs. The exciting news of the continuation of this study is that the results build compelling information about trends of library media programs and staffing."

Last year, approximately 7,000 people participated in the survey. Key findings from the survey include:

  • High schools school library media programs average 1.5 full-time school library media specialists.
  • Library media specialists in public schools average 53 hours per week; library media specialists in private schools average 68 hours per week.
  • Elementary schools average 23 volumes per student in their collection, while middle schools average 17 and high schools average 11 volumes per student in their collection.
  • School library media centers with 2,000-plus students average $9 per student in expenditures; school library media centers with fewer than 300 students average expenditures are approximately $18 per student.

Additional questions were added to last year’s study that focused on the use of social networking in the classroom. Findings showed that the majority of public and private schools were incorporating social networking tools into the classroom to aid in collaborative learning. This year's study will include additional questions regarding English Language Learners (ELLs) and resources made available to them through school library media programs.

"Overwhelming response in past years suggests that school library media specialists are anxious to share information about the conditions of their libraries. Their input means that AASL will gain insight into timely issues like English Language Learners (ELLs). The new AASL Standards for the 21st-Century Learner asks us to expand our notion of access to go beyond providing physical access to the library facilities to include intellectual access to resources that meet the needs of students from diverse cultures, learning styles and language facilities," says Marcia Mardis, chair of AASL’s Research & Statistics Committee.

The survey will be conducted by KRC Research, an independent, third-party firm. More information about "School Libraries Count!" and its key findings from previous years is available at

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.