As I travel around the state in my capacity as the School Library Technology Consultant, I am frequently asked 1) What library funding is available? And, 2) How do I get library funding? My response is always the same, “While there are no targeted library funds, you should be able to ask for and receive funds through the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF).” The following is a recap of a newsletter item I wrote last year on changes in school funding.
The LCFF and Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP) provide opportunities for school libraries to secure funding. The clear need for strong library programs, as evidenced throughout the CCSS, along with funding targeted at improving services to unduplicated students (number of students receiving free & reduced lunch, English Language Learners [ELL], and foster youth) provides a unique opportunity for school libraries to receive funding for both library staffing and collection development. This is a matter of equity, and expansion of school library services is a justifiable expenditure under LCAP. More than 60 studies have shown that reading scores, writing scores, and standardized test scores all improve when students of greatest need have access to a quality library program. See Mansfield University’s, School Library Research Summarized for a summary of school library impact studies from the past 10 years.
In response to the second question, how, let me share some ideas others have successfully used to secure funding. The common strand in those successful endeavors was the development of a clear plan that was shared with administration.
Steps to developing a successful plan:
- Communicate with your teachers to discover units of study and/or special requests.
- Use the data you collected in the Annual School Library Survey to provide a longitudinal view of your library program.
- Run a Collection Analysis – many of the library automation systems have the capability to provide a collection analysis report. Also, remember many of the book vendors such as Capstone, Follett, Mackin, Perma-Bound etc. all offer free collection analysis and provide you a detailed report including stunning visuals (graphs and charts).
- Develop your plan – armed with the feedback from your teachers, the longitudinal view of your library program, and the graphics from the collection analysis, target your funding request so you can clearly demonstrate why you need the money and how it will be used. As you are developing your plan make sure to consider electronic resources as well as print resources.