What is a Strong School Library?

This site provides information about California school libraries. We invite you to advocate for strong school libraries, implementing the new Model School Library Standards and creating legislative action.

School librarians and school libraries support students in academic achievement, lifelong learning and reading. California is in serious danger of losing teacher librarians and libraries. The most severe cuts in the nation are occurring in California where school library services to children are at rock bottom.

As school libraries close, children of poverty lose access and the achievement gap grows larger. The easy solution, and one backed up by over 20 state and international studies, confirms that access to textual materials (such as books) allows children to read more. Reading more creates better readers. The school library provides access to a wide range of developmentally appropriate reading resources in various formats, plus access to the professional who can lead our children into their digital future safely and thinking critically about their world.

Please learn more about the importance of a child's access to a strong school library:

The California School Library Foundation advocates for students to have access to:

  • A full time, certificated teacher librarian and a full-time paraprofessional working as a team. This allows the teacher librarian to collaborate with classroom teachers in co-designing instruction which incorporates information and digital literacy into the curriculum.
    The national average is one school librarian to 856 students. California’s average is one librarian to 5,240 students.
  • Lots of carefully selected books, databases, and other learning resources. Resources must reflect the school curriculum and the research and recreational reading needs of the students.
    The national average is 22 books/student.
  • A program which provides instruction and activities for students to use the research process in finding the information they need. Measurement: The American Association of School Librarians (AASL) has created four information literacy standards that are best taught when embedded in content-area standards-based units of study through collaboration between the site teacher librarian and classroom teachers. Is your teacher librarian routinely practicing collaborative teaching? California state content standards are infused with independent reading as well as information literacy. Is your teacher librarian promoting reading for purpose as well as for pleasure?
  • Technology, including hardware, software, and networking that form a virtual library linking students to the world of information, a cybrary that fully supports the school curriculum, 24/7.
    ALL schools in the district have access to the same level of technology-based resources. How do your school library eResources compare with other school districts’ eResources?
  • Its doors open before, during and after school hours, with liberal circulation policies. This means access to the school library, its resources, and staff.
    Compare the number of hours your elementary, middle and high school libraries are open. Compare your district to others.

Click to see how your district answered the California school library survey.

Click on the links [sidebar on right] to learn more about why students need strong school libraries to help them become information literate and lifelong readers and learners.

Thank you for visiting our site.
Please feel free to contact us at the California School Library Asssosciation and its Foundation

Jane Lofton, President
California School Library Association

Dr. Lesley Farmer, President
California School Library Foundation
lfarmer at