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School Library Survey: Thank you

Slda the Elms 02A huge thank you to everyone who filled in our recent surveymonkey hosted questionnaire. We reached our total of just over 1000 responses much more quickly than we had anticipated. We will undertake a detailed analysis of the data as soon as possible, but here are a few of the headlines that jump out of the data on a first look.

  • 60% of respondents were state schools
  • 25% were academies
  • 71% of respondents were from secondadry schools
  • 72% of respondents had librarians in charge of their libraries.

The major variation came in the variety of budgets that school libraries have (taken from all repsondents) 11% had up to £500 pa; with both the £1-3,000 pa and £3-5,000 pa categories having 17% each. More light is thrown on school budgets when one considers that 34% of schools had less budget this year than last, with 48% having the same as last year (which, in effect, is a cut to the value of the rate of inflation), but only 18% had any increase on their budget year on year. Comparing budget figures with three years ago 38% had less money, 32% more and 30% the same as in 2009. Some of the free text comments show the real hardship these bald statistics hide -

  • Budget was cut by over a half after librarian was made redundant
  • Due to reduction in school budget, amount the school is able to identify for the school library has reduced
  • In 8 years the budget has gone from £3,500 to £750. Last year I was allocated £500 but argued that it just could not be done and I had already spent more than that in the first month! I eventually received £800 but have had to be very creative about where and on what the money is spent. I'm holding it together but it is a struggle.
  • Head very supportive but money tight.
  • Budget had stayed stable for 12 years, no increase or decrease, but 10% reduction this last year.

The text comments also give a sense of a depressed picture in some school libraries -

  • I am leaving after 26 years. I doubt if I shall be replaced by a qualified librarian in the Main School Library .
  • I have too little paid time, to do too much work, with too little resources, especially money.
  • Our small village library is under threat of closure so even the small library we can offer the children is going to be very important in the future
  • Post is being made redundant this June

With others obviously being valued as a major contributor to the success in their school -

  • The LRC acts as the hub of the school for learning activities. It is a valuable and valued space both by students and teaching colleagues alike.
  • Our school library is an important part of our school and all our students and staff are encouraged to use it.

SLA will undertake a detailed analysis of these results and will publish the results as soon as they can be made available. But this survey was intended as a snapshot, and this snap seems at first glance to be suggesting that all is not well across the whole of the school library world.

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