Library Media Center Collections Suffer as Print Spending Drops

Over the past three years, school library media center spending on print materials (defined as all types of books) per student dropped 10 percent from an average of $12.90 in 1997 to $11.64 in 2000. Elementary schools experienced the biggest cut in expenditures with a 28 percent drop – taking their spending from the most per student to the least per student based on school level.

Highlights

  • From 1997 to 2000, library media center spending on print materials per student decreased by 10 percent, while book costs during the same period increased by 12 percent.
  • Extrapolating from the findings of the study, How School Librarians Help Kids Achieve Standards, a decrease in spending on print collections can adversely impact students’ academic achievement and as a result lower test scores.
  • For all school levels combined, the ratio of print volumes per student increased 14 percent from 1997 to 2000.
  • Middle schools had the greatest increase in the ratio of volumes per student with a rise of 18 percent from 17 volumes per student to 20.

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