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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 2011-12, 3,623 California schools completed the survey representing 36 percent of schools.   The following statistical snapshot is based on these data as well as data collected by the California Basic Educational Demographic Survey (CBEDS). When possible, previous and national data are provided for comparison.

Number of libraries

Among California public schools responding to the library survey, 99 percent have a place designated as the library, although staffing, collections, and programs range from exemplary to substandard. One percent of the schools responding do not have a library.

Staffing

Approximately 8 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 2009 was 1:940 (the most recent national numbers available; Digest of Education Statistics Tables and Figures 2009, 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). The following table reviews the ratio of teacher librarians to students from 2000 to the most recent numbers available. In 2011-12, 81 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

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 kindergarten through grade twelve (K–12) as reported in the 2011-12 CDE Online School Library Survey is 18.9, an increase of 0.2 over the previous year. In 1986, the number reported per student was ten. To find a national comparison, it is necessary to look at the average size of collection. The 2012 School Libraries Count External link opens in new window or tab. 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.  “Books” includes both print and digital formats.

According to the third-annual 2012 Ebook Usage in U.S. School (K-12) Libraries External link opens in new window or tab., “The likelihood that a school library will offer ebooks increases by grade level. While only 33 percent of elementary school libraries currently offer ebooks, 50 percent of middle-school libraries, and 63 percent of high school libraries do. A lack of access to ereading devices was described by 64 percent of respondents as the leading barrier to ebook adoption by their library. A lack of funds for ebooks was listed second, by 53 percent of respondents, while 37 percent said that they were waiting to see what the best platform would be for adoption.”

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 2011-2012. It is important to note the average copyright date is still 19 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 2013 was $19.03, down 47 cents from 2010. The average cost of a young adult title hardcover book in 2013 was $20.82, down $7.38 from 2010. Trade paperbacks for children’s and young adult titles were $7.38 and $10.97 respectively in 2013.

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

Eighty-five percent of the school libraries responding to the survey reported the use of an electronic catalog and automated circulation system. Eighty percent reported providing access to the Internet. Internet access increases with grade levels: 73 percent of school libraries reported offering access at the elementary school level, 94 percent at the middle school level, and 98 percent at the high school level (CDE Online School Library Survey for 2011-12).

Library hours

The average number of hours that a California school library is open to students is 24 hours per week. Seventy-two percent of school libraries reported being open during breaks, 67 percent during lunch, and 53 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.

California School Library Funding
A Brief History

Time Period Funding Source Statewide Amount

Prior to 1994

No state funding was allocated for school libraries.  Funding was determined at school and district levels.

N/A

1994

California Public School Library Protection Fund—a tax checkoff option for California tax payers.
Goals 2000 Funding added to the taxpayer donations

$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

1998-2001

California Public School Library Act--ongoing state funding for all California school libraries apportioned on a per pupil basis.( AB 862)

$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)

2005-2006

New funding model begins: School and Library Improvement Block Grant (AB 825).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)

$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

2009 February-2013

SBX3 4 (Chapter 12, Statutes of 2009) generated Education Code Section 42605 which allowed flexibility in the use of 38 categorical programs including the School and Library Improvement Block.

N/A

2013-2014

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:

2013 Ebook in US School (K-12) Libraries External link opens in new window or tab.
Free download of School Library Journal's 4th 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 Reserach 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
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