As the national association for the school library profession, the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) has defined the term “effective school library program” to assist with the implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) at the state and district level:
“An effective school library program has a certified school librarian at the helm, provides personalized learning environments, and offers equitable access to resources to ensure a well-rounded education for every student.”
The definition is part of a new position statement, “Definition for an Effective School Library Program,” published by AASL as guidance for administrators, school boards and school librarians in the implementation of ESSA. It provides the elements of an effective school library program as a fundamental component of college, career and community readiness. The complete position statement can be found on the AASL website at www.ala.org/aasl/essa.
“First and foremost, effective school library programs are led by certified school librarians who actively participate in the instructional programs of their schools,” said AASL President Audrey Church. “This collaborative instruction between classroom teachers and school librarians is then supported by collections of up-to-date materials in a variety of formats.”
ESSA includes language for “effective school library programs” in the provisions of Titles I, II, and IV. As part of these provisions, the “local educational agency” is authorized to include in their plans how they will develop “effective school library programs to provide students an opportunity to develop digital literacy skills and improve academic achievement.”
Through the position statement, AASL defines an effective school library program as one that includes a state-certified school librarian, contains up-to-date digital and print materials and technology, and provides regular professional development and collaboration between classroom teachers and school librarians.
“AASL has defined the components of an effective school library program that will truly help students succeed,” said Church. “Children who experience effective school library programs in the K-12 environment perform better in school and are better equipped for college, career and community.”