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A school library research project funded by the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) to study the impact of school library programs and librarians on student achievement in Pennsylvania; edited by Debra E. Kachel
Last Updated: Dec 3, 2017 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

Related PA Info Print Page

PSLA Staffing Reports

PA School Library Staffing Surveys 

The Pennsylvania School Librarians Association has conducted a survey the past three school years to gather data on school library staffing to update the "snapshot" data collected for a Pennsylvania State Board of Education report conducted in Spring 2011. Over the three years, Pennsylvania schools have lost 15% of its school librarians. PSLA continues to annually collect data on professional school librarian staffing showing the following results.

Key Findings:

  • 76 school librarian positions lost in 2013-14, a 4% decrease from the previous year
  • 120 positions or 6% decrease in professional staffing in 2012-2013 from 2011-12
  • 95.25 positions or 5% decrease in professional staffing in 2011-2012
  • The staffing reductions efffect all grade levels and all geographic regions.
  • Although more prevalent in poorer communities, even wealthy schools have reduced school librarian positions.

Annaul staffing results are posted on the PSLA Website.

Pa Academic Standards

Refer to the "Academic Standards" page of this website


    The Pennsylvania PTA Resolution Supporting School Libraries

    Pennsylvania School Librarians Assn. (PSLA)


    Project Funded by IMLS

    This project is made possible by a grant from the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services.


    Previous PA Statewide Study, 1999-2000

    Measuring Up to Standards reports the findings from the 1999-2000 Keith Curry Lance study which found that Pennsylvania school library programs can make a difference supporting the efforts of schools to measure up to standards. Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA) reading scores increase with increases in the following characteristics of school library programs: staffing, information technology, and integration of information literacy into the curriculum. In addition, as library staffing, information resources and information technology rise, so too does the involvement of school librarians in teaching students and teachers how to find and assess information. The relationship between staffing and test scores is not explained away by other school or community conditions. For the full 101 page document, click here.

    This publication was supported in whole by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) as administeered by Office of Commonwealth Libraries, Pa. Dept. of Education.

    PDE Policy on Employment of a Certified School Librarian

    On February 1, 2017, PDE placed into policy a new certification staffing policy guideline for the area of “Library Science.”  CSPG (Certification Staffing Policy) No. 48 “Library Science” states that:

    “The district must employ at least one (1) certified Library Science educator to manage a school library program."  It also clarifies that a library paraprofessional aide may check out books and perform book exchange functions under the direction of the certified Library Science educator or when the certified teacher is present with students.”

    For the full policy statement , go to the link below.

    While this finally places in official language the requirement for a certified school librarian by PDE, it , unfortunately, does not have the strength of forcing school districts to comply.

    "Certification and Staffing Policy Guidelines (CSPGs) provide guidance and clarification to educators regarding (1) the issuance of professional certificates, (2) the grade level and content scope of certificate subject areas and (3) the appropriate certificate for staffing professional positions in public schools" (


    PCN-TV Show on Pennsylvania Libraries, April 2014

    The Education Policy and Leadership Center (EPLC) produced a one-hour talk show on libraries in their "Focus on Education" series broadcast on PCN television.  The panel discussed why libraries are important to an educated workforce and an educated citizenry, the condition of public and school libraries in Pennsylvania, how libraries are funded, 'School Library Month' events, and much more.

    The panel included: 

    • Ron Cowell, President of EPLC and Host of the "Focus on Education" programs;  
    • Mary Kay Biagini, Ph.D., Director, School Library Certification Program and Associate Professor of Library and Information Science, University of Pittsburgh;
    • Eileen Kern, President, Pennsylvania School Librarians Association; and
    • Janis Stubbs, President, Pennsylvania Library Association and Assistant Director/District Consultant, Delaware County Library System

    April 2014 – Public and School Libraries in Pennsylvania – Click here to watch the show.


    Basic Education Funding Commission 2014

    The Basic Education Funding Commission is a legislatively-created bipartisan body made up of state legislators and members of the Governor’s cabinet whose task is to propose a statewide funding formula. Here is a link to their website listing members, videos of testimonies and meeting and other updated info.

    Testimony by the Education Law Center of Pennsylvania

    Staff Attorney Cheryl Kleiman of the Education Law Center provided testimony to the Basic Education Funding Commission at the PIttsburgh meeting. Among other things, ELC's testimony served as a reminder that all students are entitled to fair, equitable education funding, without major cuts to programs like tutoring and arts programs - which are not extras, but core parts of an educational program - and that there are currently thousands of students stuck in this broken system.

    Recent Testimony by Carol Hiensdorf on behalf of the Alliance for Philadelphia Public Schools (APPS)

    Written testimony submitted for the November 18, 2014, hearing in Philadelphia

    Pending Lawsuit

    On November 10, the Education Law Center and the Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia filed a major suit against the governor, legislature, and Department of Education on behalf of parents, school districts, and community groups. Read supporting articles on the PASchoolTalk blog.


    New Study on Pennsylvania's Funding of Education

    Educational Equity, Adequacy, and Equal Opportunity in the Commonwealth: An Evaluation of Pennsylvania's School Finance System

    October 10, 2014

    The American Institutes for Research (AIR) has just completed an analysis of Pennsylvania’s school finance system.  Educational Equity, Adequacy, and Equal Opportunity in the Commonwealth: An Evaluation of Pennsylvania’s School Finance System examines multiple measures of education adequacy and equity, as well as relationships between funding and student achievement. The new report – written by nationally recognized education finance experts Bruce Baker of Rutgers University and Jesse Levin of AIR – also provides an overview and analysis of school funding formulas in other states and the methods used to develop these formulas.

    We hope you find the report useful. The Executive Summary is attached and the full report is linked here.

    For additional information, please contact Larry McQuillan, AIR Director of Public Affairs, at 202-403-5119 or


    Pennsylvania House Education Committee Hearing on School Library Funding

    On August 22, 2012, the PA House Education Committee held a Hearing on School Library Funding. The Pa. School Librarians Assn. requested the hearing in order to share the findings of the 2011 PA State Board of Education's study called the Pennsylvania School Library Study. The snapshot of the state's public school library programs examined staffing, funding, collections, library access hours, and instruction. Testimonies of those who testified that day or submitted written testimonies are linked here as well as a video of a few of the testifers who commented after the Hearing shown below.


    Guidelines for Pennsylvania School Library Programs c2011

    Developed in the Summer of 2010 by a group of Pennsylvania school library leaders and staff from the Office of Commonwealth Libraries, these guidelines outline the role of the school library and librarian in teaching and learning, collaboration, management and leadership desired for all students and school in the state. This publication was supported in whole by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) as administered by Office of Commonwealth Libraries, Pa. Dept. of Education. The document is also located at


    Pennsylvania- "A Typical Day in the School Library"

    YouTube video created by Mary Schwander, high School librarian, New Hope-Solebury School District, New Hope, PA, with assistance from Karen Hornberger, high school librarian, Palisades School District, Kintnersville, PA. This video was played prior to the beginning of the PA House Education Committee Hearing on School Library Funding, August 22, 2012.

    New PA Study on the Impact of Socio-Economic Factors in Education Students

    The Purpose

    The goal of this study is to document the magnitude of the gaps in student performance for public school students in Pennsylvania and then to estimate the economic consequences of those ducation performance gaps. For measures of student performance, the study relies on Pennsylvania standardized achievement tests administered in 2013 in eighth grade as part of the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA). Data from the 2013 National Assessment of
    Educational Progress (NAEP) are used to compare the performance of students in Pennsylvania with the performance of students in other states. The results from the 2012 Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) are also examined to determine how Pennsylvania students are likely to compare with students in other developed countries.

    Key Findings

    Size of Academic Performance Gaps in Pennsylvania

    • There are sharp race-ethnic differences in Pennsylvania student achievement in eighth-grade reading and math: The share of white students achieving proficiency or above exceeds the share for African-American and Latino students by as much as 24 to 38 percentage points.
    • There are equally large differences in student achievement based on family economic status, with gaps in the proficiency rate of 20 to 26 percentage points between students classified as economically disadvantaged (about 40 percent of eighth graders statewide) and those that are not (the remaining 60 percent).
    • The gaps in the high school graduation rate among Pennsylvania students are sizeable as well, reaching 17 to 19 percentage points by race-ethnicity and 14 percentage points by family economic status.
    • There are also large differences in student achievement based on parent education and wide gaps in performance across school districts.
    • Although Pennsylvania is one of the top-scoring states on the 2013 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) on average, the achievement gaps between students classified by race-ethnicity, economic status, and parent education are among the largest in the country.

    Access Pennsylvania

    Search for books and resources in over 3,000 school, public, and academic libraries in PA. Borrow them thorugh your local school or public library.

    POWER Library - State-Provided Databases

    Search the subscription databases provided through state funds called POWER Library. View the list of e-resources. Access through your local public or school library, or signup for an e-card and start using the resources immediately.

    AskHere PA

    Use this 24/7 online reference service to chat with a real librarian to help you find information that you are looking for.


    The Compendium, Newletter about Pennsylvania Libraries

    The Compendium  

    An online newsletter from Commonwealth Libraries

    Click here for recent issues.


    New Teacher Evaluation System Coming to PA

    PDE's Teacher Effectiveness site

    PSLA's Professional Standards Committee has created a “Tip Sheet” to assist school librarians as they familiarize themselves with the new Danielson Framework under which they will be evaluated.  Using both the framework for teachers and the examples specific to librarians, the tip sheet endeavors to provide guiding reflection questions to determine whether or not you are demonstrating specific qualities or actions that reflect a domain objective.  Additionally, it provides librarians with a few examples of evidence  to present to an administrator during a post observation meeting that highlights those domain requirements.  PSLA hopes that this document will simplify the entire rubric for librarians and make the four domains more clear as they relate to the role of the school librarian. 

    The link is


    PA School Libraries in the News


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