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2014-2015 Advocacy Archive

Information on SSB 5294

Action Research: Survey Findings

Action Research: Survey of Library Services 2014

Characteristics of schools with and without paid certified teacher-librarians:

  • Of the 1,486 schools who responded to the library survey, 1,437 or 96.7% reported that they have a library facility.   
  • Among schools who have a library facility, 66.4% also employ a certified teacher-librarian; 48.4% full-time and 18% part-time.
  • Schools in rural locations far from major urban centers are significantly less likely to employ a certified teacher-librarian than are schools in more central locations.
  • Compared to schools with CTLs, schools that do NOT employ a certified teacher-librarian (CTL) are more likely than those who employ CTLs to have the following characteristics:  
    • Located in smaller districts.
    • Located in counties with higher unemployment rates, higher rates of eligibility for SNAP (food stamps) and higher rates of substantiated child abuse and neglect.
    • Enrollment of <500 students.
    • Higher percentage of students eligible for Free or Reduced Price Lunch.

Student performance in high schools with and without paid certified teacher-librarians

  • Students who attend high schools with libraries AND CTLs are significantly more likely to pass high school standardized reading and math tests. 
  • Schools with libraries ANDs CTLs have significantly higher 5-year cohort graduations rates and significantly lower drop-out rates.
  • High schools located in small, rural low-income counties and that employ CTLs perform better on indicators of student success than do comparable schools without CTLs. 


  • Students attending schools with certified teacher-librarians on staff perform better on standardized tests and are more likely to graduate from high school than are students attending schools without certified teacher-librarians.
  • Schools located in rural, smaller counties with higher rates of poverty and unemployment are also less likely to employ certified teacher-librarians.

 Next Steps:

  • Identify the factors associated with a strong library system that are correlated to student success.  
  • Expand the analysis to elementary and middle schools.  
  • Prepare a detailed report of the results.  

 Contact Information

Elizabeth (Liz) Coker, PhD., MSEd.
University of Washington, Tacoma, Center for Strong Schools
Office: (253) 692-4817
Email: [email protected]

Project Abstract

The purpose of the proposed project is to analyze and interpret the results of the Washington LIT (2014) 
survey linked at the school- building level to available statewide data on the demographics and performance 
of public schools over time.  The primary deliverable will be a report outlining the current availability and 
quality of library services in Washington State, and the relationship between the availability of library 
services and student performance.  The results will be used to inform public policy-makers about the 
impact of school libraries on student achievement and the relative availability of school libraries in 
Washington State.  In addition, the results will provide crucial data to Washington State school 
libraries for planning and reporting purposes.

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