Haves, Halves, and Have-Nots: School Libraries and Student Achievement in California Page: 190
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In 1968, the publication of School Libraries in California (Howell) brought attention to
the inadequacies of this state's school libraries. Nationally, 93% of high schools employed
certificated librarians, compared to 64% in California. At the elementary level, just 38% of
schools had libraries at all. Less than 11% of schools had any certificated library staffing, and
just 4.1% had full-time certificated staff, compared to over 50% nationally. The first
recommendation in that report was for legislative action to ensure adequate staffing of school
libraries at all levels. While there was a substantial response to this report through state and
federal funding, no staffing levels were mandated by the state. When the economic tide turned in
the late 1970s, library programs were decimated, so that by the 1987 publication of The Crisis in
California School Libraries (Brandes), California once again had the lowest certificated staffing
ratios in the country. After a major push through the 1990s for state level funding of school
libraries, for four years the California Public School Library Act provided dedicated funding at a
level of over $28 per student. While this funding revitalized many school libraries, the state
legislature made no efforts to mandate certificated staffing levels. When funding dried up,
California regained its spot at the bottom of all 50 states in certificated library staffing (Everhart,
Successful school library programs are much more than books, bytes and buildings. As
results from this study demonstrate, the level of library staffing, both certificated and clerical, is
directly related to the kinds and number of services such programs provide. And at the middle
and high school level, where there is at least a critical mass of professional staffing, the levels of
staffing are directly related to student achievement. At all grade levels, the levels of services
regularly provided by the library program are significantly related to student achievement. As an
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Achterman, Douglas L. Haves, Halves, and Have-Nots: School Libraries and Student Achievement in California, dissertation, December 2008; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc9800/m1/204/: accessed October 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .