School Library Research

The Crisis in School Libraries

Since the early 1990’s, school libraries have continued to erode; each year more school boards must make the difficult decision to reduce proper staffing in the school library and to cut back or stop the purchasing of school library resources. This decline is having a direct negative impact on student achievement and reading engagement. Students who are in schools without a staffed and resourced library program are not receiving the same education as students who have school libraries.

A properly resourced school library program includes a teacher librarian with library qualifications, a library technician, support staff, access to a robust digital media centre and e-resources, and a current book collection.

The following resources provide details, statistics, impacts and strategies for addressing this issue:

About School Libraries (pdf)

This information sheet describes the school library as learning commons, how the school library program and the teacher-librarian can be leveraged, barriers to optimizing the school library, and what can be done to overcome these barriers.

Facts about the impact and decline of school libraries (pdf)

De-Valuation of Teacher Librarians (pdf)

People for Education Research

People for Education is an independent organization working to support public education in Ontario’s English, Catholic and French schools. They conduct an annual survey of schools that includes tracking information about school libraries.
Reading for Joy (pdf)
Libraries and teacher-librarians affect students’ enjoyment of reading. This information brief looks at the correlation between the decline of reading enjoyment and the decline of teacher-librarians in schools.

Libraries: A Report from People for Education (pdf)
This report makes recommendations for support of the library as learning commons, provider of information literacy programs, and the role of IT in faculty of education programs.

Annual Report on School Libraries
2016 Update


Exemplary School Libraries in Ontario (pdf)
A Study by Queen's University and People For Education. Published by the Ontario Library Association.
This project identifies characteristics of an exemplary elementary school library that supports educational outcomes of the school.

School Libraries and Student Achievement in Ontario (pdf)
A Study by Queen's University and People for Education. Published by the Ontario Library Association
An analysis of the the relationship between student achievement and library resources and staff.

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