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					                                         Massachusetts School Library Association

                                                       FACT SHEET:
                                                 Massachusetts School Library
                                                       Media Centers

Massachusetts education policy makers are not supporting the power of school library media
centers to help students achieve. There is great inequity in access to quality literature, information,
and library professionals in schools throughout the state.

Of the fifty U.S. states, Massachusetts ranks:

        38th in providing its public school students with state-certified library media specialists.
        41st in teachers who agree that school library materials are adequate to support
         educational objectives.
        49th in providing its public schools with school libraries.
        50th in mean circulation per pupil per school of all library materials.

The 1999 Simmons Study of Massachusetts School Library Media Centers found that:

        37% of Massachusetts elementary schools did not have full-time library professionals on
        8% of public schools did not have a library media center.
        An average of $12.00 per child is spent for school library books – less than half the
         average cost of one hardcover children’s book.
        The Massachusetts Department of Education has no administrator designated to provide
         leadership and set standards for school library media programs statewide.
        Neither Massachusetts education reform legislation nor the Massachusetts Department of
         Education provides specific funding, leadership or plans for improving public school library
         media services.
        The progressive decay of library media programs in many Massachusetts school districts
         has compromised the success of education reform.

Provide the school library resources necessary to help children maximize their academic
achievement. Evidence from the Simmons Study indicates “equal educational opportunity comes
more within reach for all children in the presence of a school library program that supports,
extends and enriches the educational process”. Educational research has firmly established that
higher student academic achievement is associated with:

        State, local and national leadership in support of school library media programs.
        An elementary school library media center whose collection is aligned with the
         Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks. This is especially true in schools that have a high
         percentage (15% or more) of free school lunches.

       PO Box 658, Lunenburg, MA 01462                                               978-582-6967
        A school library media center which is equipped with a quality collection of books and other
         educational media professionally selected to support and enrich the school’s curriculum
        A school library media program which is adequately staffed, according to national
         guidelines, and has library professional(s) who are an integral part of the school’s planning
         and teaching team
        Massachusetts schools whose libraries have more open hours for student access,
         automated collections, information literacy programs, book counts which meet or exceed
         state standards, and increased student use.


Support the power of school libraries to help all students succeed! Massachusetts
legislators have proven their commitment to providing children with a quality, equitable
education through education reform. Integral to the success of education reform is the
provision of information-rich school environments. School libraries are the information and
literacy centers of their learning communities.

Legislative leadership in support of school libraries will help education reform succeed and
Massachusetts public school students achieve.

                                         MSLA Contact:
                                Judi Paradis, judiparadis@rcn.com
                               Robert Roth, rroth@boston.k12.ma.us

                                  MSLA Legislative Liaison:
                                       Christopher Gregory
                                      Gregory & Associates
                                     77 North Washington St.
                                 Boston, Massachusetts 02114
                             Phone: 617-367-6449 Fax: 617-367-6299

       PO Box 658, Lunenburg, MA 01462                                               978-582-6967

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