Did you know?

Current line item funding level for school library books and electronic resources is $500,000. This is a decrease from the original $2 million funding level.

  • With the current amount, schools can purchase only one new library book for every 29 students.*

  • With $1,000,000, schools could buy one new library book for every 15 students.

  • With $1,500,000, schools could buy one new library book for every 10 students.

  • If the amount were restored to the previous $2 million, each year Utah schools would be able to buy one new library book for every 7 students.

We want our students to be proficient young readers and critical thinkers.Proficient readers and critical thinkers need inviting new books, both print & ebooks.

What's the best we can do for our children?
*The data are based on the USOE October 1, 2013 enrollment figure of 612,551 students. Book prices, in terms of sales, are supplied by Baker & Taylor, one of the largest book jobbers that sell to school libraries. Included are fiction and nonfiction titles for children's, young adult, and adult books (high schools).

The teacher librarian, a key player in the success of the overall educational program of the school, performs five essential roles: teacher, instructional partner, reading advocate, information specialist or Chief Information Officer (CIO), and manager of the library and its many programs. Among numerous research projects over the past twenty years, nineteen state studies of the impact of school libraries on academic achievement show that the intrinsic element of student success in all these studies is the collaboration between teacher librarians and classroom teachers. Read about the studies in School Libraries Work! and also why cutting school librarians is a mistake.

Currently, only 3 Utah school districts employ professionally-trained, certified teacher librarians (certified teachers with a Master of Library and Information Science Degree or a Utah Library Media Endorsement) in all public schools in the district. This means that only 3 districts employ teacher librarians in the elementary schools. In 2011, there were 5 Utah school districts that employed professionally-trained, certified teacher librarians in all public schools in the district. That means that elementary students in all but 3 districts have no opportunity to learn the Utah curriculum that covers information literacy, media literacy, and literature concepts and skills.

Currently, 10 school districts employ no professionally-trained, certified teacher librarians anywhere in the district. That is an increase from 7 school districts without teacher librarians in 2011. Students in 10 districts, including high school students will have no exposure to information and media literacy curriculums.

School districts and schools may use the general Weighted Pupil Unit (WPU) funds to purchase school library books and electronic resources, periodicals, supplies, and technology/audiovisual materials for school libraries. However, with decreasing funds and increasing needs for offering quality education, many school programs must compete for money.


Hence, among the districts, there is great disparity in the amount of WPU funds allocated to school library programs. In one district, expended funds for school library books equals an average of $2.76 per pupil; in a neighboring district, that amount averages $10.00 per student.


A supplemental line item helps to bring equity in this funding. Since 2006, there has been a line item designated for school library books and electronic resources. The original funding totaled $2 million. By the end of the 2010 legislative session, that amount had dropped to $400,000 in one-time-only funding and $25,000 in ongoing funding, thus saving the line item. Our goal is to increase the line item for school libray books and electronic resources as the economy improves.

In the 2011 session, the Utah Legislature approved funds for library books and electronic resources. School libraries will receive $400,000 in ongoing funding and $200,000 in one-time-only funds. To apportion the money, there is a formula, where 25% of the $600,000 is appropriated by dividing that amount by the number of schools. Every school receives the same base amount. The remaining 75% of $600,000 is distributed on a per-pupil basis.

What the Money Can Buy

Those wanting an approximation simply can divide $600,000 by Utah's 580,000 students. Very roughly, schools will receive $1.03 per student. Hardcover books for children's and young adults average $25.00. Adult titles cost more and such reference books as atlases, cost even more. Added to this amount is the purchase of electronic cataloging records for each book and processing, e.g., plastic covers and labels to make books "shelf ready."
Not all resources are found on the Internet!! We still need books designed for young readers who are developing their skills with beautiful picture books and "chapter" books. We still need reliable information books, with quality illustrations as students undertake classroom assignments or pursue a personal quest for information.

Help us to increase funding for school libraries by talking with your school administrators, school boards, and legislators. Your effort is an investment in our youth and Utah's future!