RI School Libraries
SLRI Survey Results
101 Elementary 1 E/M 32 Middle 3 M/H 33 High School 1 K-12
171 school librarians from across the state
35 public school districts 10 independent schools 2 charter schools
What's the state of their collections
Databases and online resources are often used in research, and some students opt for e-books. However, there is still a place for print materials, which have been shown to aid in comprehension and retention ... and to be preferred by many students. Unfortunately, 20% have no district book budget, up from 18% last year. Of those that do receive money from their districts, 50% received less this year than last. This is TWICE AS MANY as last year's 25%. And if schools are relying on digital resources, 38% do not have access to enough devices for a full class of students. This is an improvement since last years' 48%, but still too high. Finally, 6% of school libraries are still not automated.
Age (in years)*
Elementary - 23 Middle - 16 High School - 16
Budget (avg. spent/student)
Size (avg. # items/student)
Elementary - $3.99 Middle - $5.00 High School - $5.70
Elementary - 19 Middle - 17 High School - 20
*In general, publication dates of materials in a school library should average 15 years old.
What their schedules are like
Lack of time is one of the biggest challenges for school librarians. They must balance the roles of teacher, instructional partner, program administrator, and information specialist. Only 23% have any clerical help. The majority of librarians - especially at the elementary level - have little flexibility in their schedules, which means that opportunities for collaboration or special programs are few. Of those responding to the question, 23% had even less flexibility in their schedules this year than last. Only 7% had more. It is worth noting that 1/3 of the school libraries in this state are used for PARCC testing, which means that library teachers are displaced for classes, and students do not have access to materials during that time.
Fixed - 54% overall (80% elementary) Partially flexible - 18% Flexible - 28%
1/3 of those with fixed schedules have more than 5 classes per day. Add in a lunch and a prep, and there's no time to actually manage the library. NOTE: 11% don't even get a prep during the day.
What they're concerned about
More budget / position cuts
Barrington, Chariho, East Greenwich, and South Kingstown are moving to cut funding for the 2017-18 school year.
Many librarians are directed to teach students how to take the PARCC ; information literacy instruction is replaced by typing practice. CS4RI has placed expectations on many librarians to teach coding.
Many librarians are given building duties or class coverage, leaving little time for collection development or shelving. Many librarians must travel between buildings.