Report: “Seattle’s School Libraries: a Stark Example of Rich and Poor”
From The Seattle Times:
While Seattle Public Schools provides money to each school that could be used for libraries, the principal and other school leaders decide whether to spend it that way. In 38 percent of Seattle schools this year, the leaders didn’t choose to use that money in their libraries.
Overall, Seattle’s district office provides only about a quarter of the $535,096 that schools spent on library materials this year — the rest came from PTAs, book fairs and grants.
On average, that means the district’s contribution is only about $2.55 per student, barely enough to cover the cost of one magazine.
In a survey early this year by Seattle librarians, they found one elementary school in Northwest Seattle that received $2,000 from the district for library materials and raised an additional $11,500, for a total of $25.47 per student. In that school, only 9 percent of students qualify for free- or reduced-price lunches.
Yet a similarly sized elementary in West Seattle, where 83 percent of the students qualify for federal free- or reduced-price lunches, only $2.14 is spent per student for books and other items. An average book in that school’s library is 24 years old, compared with 13 in the Northwest Seattle school.
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See Also: A similar story in Washington D.C.
About Gary Price
Gary Price (email@example.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. He earned his MLIS degree from Wayne State University in Detroit. Price has won several awards including the SLA Innovations in Technology Award and Alumnus of the Year from the Wayne St. University Library and Information Science Program. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com.