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School Libraries

School libraries help prepare students to live and learn in a world of information. The mission of school libraries is to ensure that students and staff are able to use ideas and information.

The libraries provide access to materials in all formats. It helps increase students' interest in reading, viewing, and using information and ideas.

Research shows that a school library with the right staffing, funding, and a rich collection of books has a positive impact on students.

School districts need to provide library services for teachers and students.

  • For more information about school libraries, contact your local school district.
  • The School Libraries - CalEdFacts page provides more information about school libraries in California.
  • The links and information below were developed for educators and others who work with school libraries.

School Library Standards

Information about and resources to support the Model School Library Standards for California Public Schools adopted by the State Board of Education in September 2010.

Library Surveys

  • CDE Online School Library Survey
    The annual online school library survey is now open to collect information from individual schools about their libraries in 2014-2015. It will be available through Saturday, April 30, 2016. Survey results from prior years are available anytime on the library survey home page.
  • Statistics About California School Libraries
    Number of books per students, staffing ratios, and more.
  • School Libraries Count! External link opens in new window or tab.
    American Association of School Librarians (AASL) "School Libraries Count" gathers annual data on changes in the field to gain understanding of the state of school library media programs nationally. Private schools are included.

School Libraries and the Common Core State Standards

Library Funding

  • School Library Funding
    California's new school funding formula, enacted in 2013.
  • Awards and Grants from the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) External link opens in new window or tab.
    The 2013 AASL Awards & Grants season is open. The AASL awards program will offer more than $50,000 in awards to AASL members in 2013. AASL’s 10 awards recognize excellence and showcase best practices in the school library field in categories that include research, collaboration, leadership and innovation. AASL personal members are required to fill out applications using AASL’s electronic awards database. Apply for all AASL awards and grants through the AASL electronic awards database. The deadline for most awards and grants is February 1, 2013. The deadline for the National School Library Program of the Year (NSLPY) Award is January 2, 2013.
  • Improving Literacy Through School Libraries External link opens in new window or tab.
    This federal grant program is no longer available though recipients and grant descriptions are still posted on this site. See Innovative Approaches to Literacy Program for an alternative.
  • Innovative Approaches to Literacy Program Grants External link opens in new window or tab.
    Grant opportunity. The Innovative Approaches to Literacy (IAL) program supports high-quality programs designed to develop and improve literacy skills for children and students from birth through 12th grade within the attendance boundaries of high-need local educational agencies and schools. The U.S. Department of Education intends to support innovative programs that promote early literacy for young children, motivate older children to read, and increase student achievement by using school libraries, distributing free books to children and their families, and offering high-quality literacy activities. Applications are due by August 10, 2012.
  • Laura Bush Foundation for America's Libraries External link opens in new window or tab.
    Grant opportunity. The Laura Bush Foundation will make grants of amounts up to $5,000 to school libraries. Funds are to be used to update, extend, and diversify the book collections of those libraries.
  • Lenski Covey Foundation grants for purchasing books External link opens in new window or tab.
    Grant opportunity. The Lois Lenski Covey Foundation, Inc. annually awards grants for purchasing books published for young people preschool through grade 12. Grants for 2012 will range from $500 to $3000 and are specifically for children’s book purchases rather than administrative or operational uses. The Foundation gives to libraries or organizations that serve economically or socially at-risk children, have limited book budgets, and demonstrate real need. Only libraries or organizations within the United States, its territories, or commonwealths are eligible.
  • NEA Foundation Grants External link opens in new window or tab.
    Grant opportunity. The National Education Association (NEA) Foundation makes $1,000 awards to public schools serving economically disadvantaged students to purchase books for school libraries as part of Books Across America Library Book Awards. The NEA Foundation makes these awards in collaboration with the National Education Association. The new application process has not been announced. Other grants are available.
  • Target Early Childhood Reading Grants External link opens in new window or tab.
    Support programs like weekend book clubs and after-school reading programs that foster a love of reading and encourage children, from birth through age nine, to read together with their families. The award amount is $2,000. All schools, libraries, and nonprofit organizations are eligible for the grant. Grant applications are typically accepted between March 1 and April 30 each year, with grant notifications delivered at the end of August.

Frequently Asked Questions


Links to current research about the impact of a quality school library on student achievement.

Library Collection Development

Teacher Librarians

A teacher librarian is a person who possesses both a California teaching credential and a California Teacher Librarian Services credential. Other states frequently refer to this as "library media specialist." Find a program to become a Teacher Librarian.

Legislation to change credential title from library media teacher to teacher librarian became effective on January 1, 2008 (SB 132, Chapter 730, SEC 16).

Requirements as defined by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTCC).

Statistics on Teacher Librarians

Assessing Your School Library

Tools for assessing your school library.

What does a good school library look like?

  • Ask Me! LAUSD Teacher Librarians External link opens in new window or tab. (video)
    Produced by teacher librarians in the Los Angeles Unified School District, Ask Me! illustrates the changing role of the 21st century teacher librarian

  • Teacher Librarians at The Heart of Student Learning External link opens in new window or tab. (video)
    School library and information technology programs are a vital resource for student learning. This video highlights the essential role teacher librarians play in information and technology literacy instruction, reading advocacy, and information management. Produced by the Washington Library Media Association External link opens in new window or tab.

  • 21st Century School Libraries External link opens in new window or tab. (video)
    School libraries are the hub of the school, librarians are heavily involved in education, and changing technology means the library is actually more relevant than ever.

School and Public Library Cooperation

Activities between school libraries and public libraries.

  • "Joint Use" Public/School Libraries
    Public and School Libraries: Issues and Options of Joint Use Facilities and Cooperative Use Agreements, Christopher Berger, California State Library.
  • Library of California External link opens in new window or tab.
    A network of California libraries.

Key Connections

  • Key Connections
    Professional library associations, research assistance, and CDE Web pages frequently used by the CDE library consultant.
Questions:   Curriculum Frameworks and Instructional Resources Division | | 916-319-0881
Last Reviewed: Tuesday, August 18, 2015

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