Department of Education Evaluation Highlights Success of Improving Literacy Through School Libraries Program

Contact: Jenni Terry

ALA Washington Office

(202) 628-8410


For Immediate Release

January 29, 2009

, D.C. – The American Library Association (ALA) today hails the Second Evaluation of the Improving Literacy Through School Libraries (LSL) Program released by the U.S. Department of Education earlier this month, which indicated that students attending schools participating in LSL are performing higher on state reading tests than students in schools that do not take part in the program.

The study stated that in schools that participated in LSL in 2003-04, the percentage of students who met or exceeded the proficiency requirements on state reading assessments increased by an extra 2.7 percentage points over the increase observed among nonparticipating schools during the same time period.

“The ALA is pleased to see these results, as they demonstrate the vital role school libraries serve in a student’s education,” Emily Sheketoff, executive director of the ALA Washington Office, said.

“Literacy impacts every area of one’s education, and it is so important that more schools pursue ways to invest in their school libraries through opportunities such as the Improving Literacy Through School Libraries program. This is one of the most successful programs in No Child Left Behind, but it has never been funded at even 10 percent of the authorized level."

According to the Department of Education Web site, the LSL program provides grants to help Local Education Agencies (LEAs) improve reading achievement by providing students with increased access to up-to-date school library materials; well-equipped, technologically advanced school library media centers; and professionally certified school library media specialists.

The evaluation also stated that grantees roughly tripled their expenditures on books, subscriptions and computer hardware, while nongrantees showed little change.

Highlights from this report can be found