School Library Month kicks off today! Megan McDonald, author of the popular Judy Moody series, the Stink books, and the Sisters Club trilogy, is the national spokesperson for the 2016 celebration, and she offers this message that you’re welcome to share as a PSA:
The 2016 theme is School Libraries Transform Learning. School Library Month is the American Association of School Librarians’ celebration of school librarians and their programs. Every April school librarians are encouraged to host activities to help their school and local community celebrate the essential role that strong school library programs play in transforming learning. (More about the history of School Library Month.)
Numerous studies have shown that strong school libraries support student achievement. Here are a few facts about Wyoming’s school libraries, taken from the 2014-15 Wyoming School Library Survey:
- Most Wyoming K-12 schools have a library. In 2014-15, the WDE listed 348 public K-12 schools Of those schools, 294 have library contact information listed in the online Wyoming Libraries Directory.
- K-12 students visit their school library an average of 1.2 times per week. More than two-thirds of visits are with a classroom group and the remainder are students using the library independently.
- School libraries offer numerous programs including Accelerated Reading, authors and artists in the schools, book clubs, English language learner resources and support, and family literacy events.
- The average size of these school libraries’ collections was 11,359 items. Surveyed schools have about 1.85 million books on their shelves – an average of 36.8 books per student.
- Print collection spending in reporting libraries averaged $14.56 per student – less than the cost of a single hardback book. If you add audio-visual and electronic resources, collection spending averaged $17.00 per student.
- The 185 school libraries who responded to the survey reported nearly 1 million items circulated. That’s 16 checkouts per student.
- Wyoming school libraries are open to students an average of 36.7 hours per week. Almost 85% of school libraries reported being open either before or after school.
- Wyoming Department of Education 2014-15 statistics show that there are 99.43 full time equivalent (FTE) Library Media Specialists statewide – 1 FTE for each 621.72 students. Library Media Specialists are certified teachers providing students instruction in information literacy. They are assisted by 180.04 library media aide FTEs.
- School library staff are an integral part of the education team: 37.6% of survey respondents say they serve on their school’s curriculum committee, 55.7% on the technology committee, 46.8% on school improvement and 30.2% parent-teacher organization. All told, 77.3% of school library main contacts serve on one or more of these committees.
Is your library doing something special for School Library Month? Share in the comments, or email Susan Mark at the Wyoming State Library at firstname.lastname@example.org with your library news.