[Alis] advocacy for School Libraries

kmccook at tampabay.rr.com kmccook at tampabay.rr.com
Thu Feb 5 07:00:14 EST 2009


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 
http://www.ala.org/ala/aasl/slcsurvey.cfm.

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.

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