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29 April 2016 @ 09:09 am
Crime and Punishment  
School Library Journal reported the latest statistics on school library budgets here: http://www.slj.com/2016/04/budgets-funding/school-library-budgets-rise-20-yet-challenges-remain-spending-survey-2016/#_. I was stopped cold here: "On average, school library annual budgets climbed nearly 20 percent for the 2015–16 school year, to $8,315. That’s up from $6,970 in 2013–14. The median, too, reflected almost a 20 percent bump: $5,380 for the 2015–16 school year, up from $4,500 two years prior."

Median spending for school libraries was a little over $5K. I look at this figure and shake my head. I have been known to spend several thousand dollars each year on books. I spent more than $500 during my last visit to Vroman's to buy some books to leave behind in a district where I was speaking. How can school libraries manage to update collections, to meet the needs and interests of their readers, to ensure diversity if they are severely limited with budgets like this?

It is not bad enough that school librarians are an endangered species in some places, now we are endangering the lives of the collections as well? This is a crime. The punishment? Well, the folks who get punished here are the kids. There will not be new books, books that might serve as windows and mirrors and doors, books that contain current information, books that support their needs and interests and preferences as readers. I wonder if there is some correlation between the relatively flat spending in school libraries and the relative flatness of test scores? We KNOW that already from the work done by Lance et al. Maybe someone needs to remind those in charge of budgets that this does exist?

Take a look at the terrific infographic included in the SLK report:



I guess it is time to do some bake sales for the library budget.
 
 
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