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Statistics About California School Libraries

This is the annual data collection of trends pertaining to California School Libraries and the level of library resources made available to students from year to year.

Statistics About California School Libraries

The California Department of Education annually collects information about school libraries using an online survey process. In 2013-14, 4,273 California schools completed the survey representing 43 percent of schools. The following statistical snapshot is based on these data as well as data collected by the California Longitudinal Pupil Achievement Data System (CALPADS). When possible, previous and national data are provided for comparison.

Number of libraries

Among California public schools responding to the library survey, 84 percent have a place designated as the library, although staffing, collections, and programs range from exemplary to substandard. Sixteen percent of the schools responding do not have a library.

Staffing

Approximately 9 percent of California schools have a credentialed teacher librarian on campus part time or longer; the majority of professional staffing is found at the high school level. A teacher librarian has both a California teaching credential and a California teacher librarian services credential. Although the national ratio of teacher librarians to students in the fall of 2011 was 1:1,023 (the most recent national numbers available; Digest of Education Statistics Tables and Figures 2011, National Center for Education Statistics External link opens in new window or tab.), California continues to rank at the bottom of professional library staffing numbers. In 2012, the California ratio was 1:7,374 (2011-12 CBEDS Report) and in 2014-15 the ratio dropped to 1:7,187. The following table reviews the ratio of teacher librarians to students from 2000 to the most recent numbers available. In 2013-14, 86 percent of California public schools reported classified staff in the library.

Academic Year Teacher Librarians in CA Schools
Pupil Services Staff Detail Report, Teacher Librarian; Number of Staff Assigned to each Assignment Code
Total CA Public School Enrollment
Adjusted for School for school library measurement
Ratio of Students per Teacher Librarian

2014-2015

859

6,173,314

1:7,187

2013-2014

820

6,167,906

1:7,522

2012-2013

804

6,156,604

1:7,657

2011-2012

834

6,149,704

1:7,374

2010-2011

895

6,144,415

1:6,865

2009-2010

Data not available

6,113,464

Data not available

2008-2009

1091

6,166,147

1:5,652

2007-2008

1253

6,182,933

1:4,935

2006-2007

1227

6,198,239

1:5,052

2005-2006

1217

6,237,471

1:5,125

2004-2005

1148

6,247,345

1:5,442

2003-2004

1199

6,222,680

1:5,190

2002-2003

1375

6,168,798

1:4,486

2001-2002

1381

6,069,161

1:4,395

2000-2001

1387

5,973,076

1:4,306

Library books

The latest figure for the average number of school library books per student in kindergarten through grade twelve (K–12) as reported in the 2013-14 CDE Online School Library Survey is 20.4, an increase of 1.5 over the last time data were reported. In 1986, the number reported per student was ten. To find a national comparison, it is necessary to look at the average collection size. The 2012 School Libraries Count External link opens in new window or tab. survey reports the average number of books as 13,517. During the same time period, California K–12 schools report the average number of books as 13,285. According to the 2013-14 CDE Online School Library Survey, the average number of books has risen to 14,137.  “Books” includes both print and digital formats.

According to the sixth-annual 2015 Ebook Usage in U.S. School (K–12) Libraries External link opens in new window or tab. survey, “The median number of ebooks available per school has reached 235 titles (mean 1,857), with high schools having significantly more ebooks in their collections than other schools. To put this in perspective, the median number of print books in school library collections is 13,000 (mean 14,800), meaning that ebooks comprise only about two percent of all books available to students in the typical school library (not accounting for audiobooks)…‘Lack of ereading devices available’ is the top cited reason for not making ebooks available, followed by ‘no money for ebooks,’ although both are down from last year. ‘No interest in ebooks’ holds steady at number three.”

Age of collection

The age of the library books is as important as the number of books available to students. In 1995 the average copyright date of a California school library nonfiction book was 1972 or 23 years old. In 2004-05, with new state funding, the average copyright date rose to 1993 where it remained through 2012-13, and rose to 1995 in 2013-14. It is important to note the average copyright date is still 20 years old. The average copyright date is measured in the nonfiction section and includes both print and digital books.

Book costs

The average cost of a children’s title hardcover book in 2015 was $19.32, up 29 cents from 2013. The average cost of a young adult title hardcover book in 2015 was $20.77, down 5 cents from 2013. Trade paperbacks for children’s and young adult titles were $8.81 and $11.53 respectively in 2015.

Need for books

The Internet does not replace the need for books and often increases the demand for up-to-date library materials. Library resources come in various formats—both print and electronic—and are selected based on the best format for the intended user and use. In a school library today, many of the resources are aligned to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). The CCSS expect students to engage with a wide variety of informational and literary texts in English language arts/literacy.

Electronic access to resources

Over eighty-five percent of the school libraries responding to the survey reported the use of an electronic catalog and automated circulation system. Eighty three percent reported providing access to the Internet. Internet access increases with grade levels: 78 percent of school libraries reported offering access at the elementary school level, 92 percent at the middle school level, and 98 percent at the high school level (CDE Online School Library Survey for 2013-14).

Library hours

The average number of hours that a California school library is open to students is 25 hours per week. Sixty-eight percent of school libraries reported being open during breaks, 67 percent during lunch, and 57 percent before school. Four percent of schools reported having the library available some evenings and some weekends.

Funding

Since the demise of the School and Library Improvement Block Grant, the primary source of library funding for 51 percent of California schools comes from fund-raising activities. It is important to note, since the implementation of the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) in 2013-14, the funding provided by districts has steadily increased from 28 percent in 2011-12 to 45 percent reporting library funding from General/LCFF.

California School Library Funding
A Brief History

Pre-1994 no state funding was allocated for school libraries. Any funding was determined at the school and district levels.

The tax checkoff program from 1994-1997 generated funds from taxpayer donations and dispersed them on a competitive grant basis.

Time Period Funding Source Statewide Amount
1994

California Public School Library Protection Fund— tax    checkoff
Goals 2000 Funding

$266,000 (funded 53 grants)
$500,000,000 (funded 97 grants)
1995 California Public School Library Protection Fund--tax checkoff $345,000 (funded 68 grants)
1996 California Public School Library Protection Fund
NOTE: Legislature added $12 million to taxpayer donations
$12,300,247 (funded 2,433 grants)
1997 California Public School Library Protection Fund $316,454
N/A The Library Act initiated the first ongoing per pupil funding for school libraries. (AB 862) N/A
1998-2001 California Public School Library Act-–ongoing state funding for all California school libraries $158.5 million (or approx. $28.88 per ADA)
2002-2003 Library Act funds--reduced 87% during midyear budget adjustment process. From 1998 to 2003, the California Public School Library Act was reduced 92% $21.5 million (or approx. $3.46 per pupil)
2003-2004 Library Act funds--reduced additional 5% $8.8 million (or approx. $1.51 per pupil)
2004-2005 Library Act funds $4.2 million (or approx. $0.71 per pupil)
N/A The School and Library Improvement Block Grant combined two programs: that formerly known as School Improvement Program (SIP) and the California Public School Library Act (Library Act). It is distributed on the basis of a district’s proportional share of the original two funds and is dispersed within the district according to school site councils. (AB 825) N/A
2005-2006 New funding model begins: School and Library Improvement Block Grant (AB 825). $422,421,000
Estimated amount used for library functions is $22,868,858.
2006-2007 School and Library Improvement Block Grant $447,348,872
2007-2008 School and Library Improvement Block Grant $465,265,365
2008-2009 School and Library Improvement Block Grant $472,836,000
2/09 Tier 3 flexibility
N/A

Funding for this program is unrestricted pursuant to SBX3 4 (Chapter 12, Statutes of 2009), enacted February 2009. For additional information, please refer to the Action on 2008 and 2009 Budget Acts Web page.

Before 2008-09, the funds were restricted to the School and Library Improvement Block Grant, which combined the School Library Materials (SLM) and School Improvement Program (SIP). Local educational agencies (LEAs) that participated in SIP prior to the inclusion in the block grant could use the funds for any purpose previously authorized by both programs as determined by the school advisory committee. LEAs that did not participate in SIP could use the funds for SLM.

N/A
2009-2013 Fiscal Categorical Program Funds: These funds may be used for any educational purpose. Formerly, they were restricted to the School and Library Improvement Block Grant combining funds from School Library Materials (SLM) and the School Improvement Program (SIP). N/A
2013-

Local Control Funding Formula goes into effect.

The 2013–14 budget package replaces the previous K–12 finance system with a new Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF). For school districts and charter schools, the LCFF creates base, supplemental, and concentration grants in place of most previously existing K–12 funding streams, including revenue limits and most state categorical programs

N/A

 

Comparative analysis of school libraries nationwide

The following sites contain statistical information about school libraries across the country:

2015 Ebook Usage in U.S. School (K–12) Libraries External link opens in new window or tab.
Free download of School Library Journal's 6th annual survey of Ebook Usage in U.S. School (K-12) Libraries.

Digest of Education Statistics
National Center for Education Statistics External link opens in new window or tab.
The Digest of Education statistics provides a compilation of statistical information covering the broad field of American education from prekindergarten through graduate school. The Digest includes a selection of data from many sources, both government and private, and draws especially on the results of surveys and activities carried out by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES).

Library Research Service, Colorado
Research and Statistics About Libraries External link opens in new window or tab.
LRS is part of the Colorado State Library, a unit of the Colorado Department of Education, which designs and conducts library research for library and education professionals, public officials, and the media to inform practices and assessment needs.

Library Statistics Program
National Center for Education Statistics External link opens in new window or tab.
In 1989 the NCES began collecting nation-wide library statistics that include a School Library Media Center Survey. Among the topics covered in this survey are staffing, services, expenditures, and collections.

Research and Statistics, American Association of School Librarians External link opens in new window or tab.
An online clearinghouse for school library research and statistics collected by the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) including research conducted by AASL as well as links to outside research and statistics.

Questions:   Curriculum Frameworks and Instructional Resources Division | CFIRD@cde.ca.gov | 916-319-0881
Last Reviewed: Thursday, June 16, 2016
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