Schools See Steep Drop in Librarians, New Analysis Finds

Source: Sarah D. Sparks and Alex Harwin, Education Week, May 16, 2018 | Corrected: May 17, 2018

American schools—particularly those serving black and Latino students—have seen a precipitous drop in their school librarians since the Great Recession.

The nation’s public school districts have lost 20 percent of their librarians and media specialists since 2000, from more than 54,000 to less than 44,000 in 2015, according to an Education Week Research Center analysis of federal data. Many districts lost librarians even as student populations grew by 7 percent nationwide. For example, over the past decade in Denver public schools, student enrollment increased by 25 percent, but the number of librarians decreased by 60 percent. ….

…. The evidence is building that the loss of school librarians could put schools at a disadvantage academically. For example, two studies of national and Colorado-specific data suggested that losing a school librarian was associated with lower 4th grade reading scores while gaining one was associated with higher scores. A meta-analysis of 34 statewide studies also suggested that schools with high-quality library programs had higher reading test scores and, for high schools, graduation rates. ….

Related:
School Librarian, Where Art Thou?
Source: Keith Curry Lance, School Library Journal, March 16, 2018