Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Study: Access to School Library Resources Forms Along Racial Lines

Study: Access to School Library Resources Forms Along Racial Lines:

Study: Access to School Library Resources Forms Along Racial Lines

school library access

It’s not surprising that school libraries and media centers are underfunded and the number of library and media specialists working in public schools is on the decline. What’s alarming, however, is how race factors into school library shortages.
A new study by NEA confirms what has long been suspected: the number of school libraries and media centers over the past decade has changed with the economy, declining with the downturn but failing to reopen as the economy recovered.
Since 2007 there has been a national decline in the number of school library/media centers and there are fewer library/media centers operating in high‐poverty schools than in wealthier schools, especially low income schools in the inner cities, where the number has dropped by five percentage points.
When race enters the equation the statistics are even more grim. In elementary schools with the highest ethnic minority populations, regardless of poverty levels, there are fewer libraries specialists per 100 students than low ethnic minority status. On the other hand, the wealthiest schools with the fewest ethnic minority students have five times more library specialists.
NEA conducted a detailed research study of public school library/media centers in all 50 United States and the District of Columbia. The study provides specific information at district, state, and national levels on trends in library/media center growth, staffing and staff qualifications, number and availability of resources (including new technologies), and accessibility and usage of facilities.
The study shows clear evidence that disparities in school resources have formed along racial lines. Even among the poorest and most disadvantaged schools, there are differences in access to resources which place ethnic-minority students at a greater disadvantage” -Kathy Tuck, National Education Association
Beyond staffing levels, inequities are also found in library materials available for student use. Libraries in the poorest schools as well as special education schools and alternative schools are less likely to have modernized catalogue and circulation systems. The poorest schools have had the smallest increase in the number of book titles since 2007, and the increase in titles for inner city schools is one-third the size of increases in other communities. While nearly all (96.6%) library/media centers have computers, the number of computers per schools drops substantially as school poverty increases to the highest level—from 22 to 14 computers.
While the national average for weekly visits to the school library/media center is about one visit per week per student (or 100 visits per 100 students), fewer of the poorest students and students in special education and alternative schools visit each Study: Access to School Library Resources Forms Along Racial Lines:


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