To: Mónica Ratliff, LAUSD Board Member, District 6

From: Michael Ángel Vázquez, Policy Fellow, Leadership for Educational Equity

Date: July 25, 2016

Re: Supporting Educational Equity and Student Achievement through Expanded Access to Libraries


Approved on February 11, 2014, the resolution entitled “Supporting Educational Equity and Student Achievement through Expanded Access to Libraries” was created to promote positive attitudes towards reading and learning within LAUSD. Much evidence referenced during the passing of this resolution indicated that access to print materials improves reading skills, and that schools with full-time certificated librarians tend to have significantly higher standardized test scores. During the 2012-2013 academic year, the district’s proficiency rate in English Language Arts (ELA) among students sat at 48%, nine points below the state average. At the time of the resolution, only 98 out of 726 school libraries were staffed by a certificated teacher-librarian, and only 296 schools had at least one library aide.

In general, the resolution reaffirmed the Board of Education’s commitment to school libraries as an important student resource. To expand access to them, the resolution ordered for the creation of a Modern Libraries Task Force, which included members from the Los Angeles Public Libraries (LAPL), the Los Angeles County Public Libraries (CoLAPub), the UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies, the department of Integrated Library and Textual Support Services, and the Office of Curriculum, Instruction and School Support, among other district departments and community partners. This task force outlined the current state of school libraries in LAUSD and defined roles for libraries, librarians, and library aides in supporting the Common Core State Standards. The task force explored funding sources to increase library staffing across the district to ensure that more students had access to quality libraries district wide.


Regarding this resolution, my main objectives were to: 1) review any recommendations and findings made by the Modern Libraries Task Force; and 2)determine how many more library aides were hired by the district after it was passed and how many schools, particularly elementary schools in board district 6, still needed one. I first spoke with Dr. Esther Sinofsky, the Administrative Coordinator for LAUSD’s Integrated Library and Textbook Support Services department, who provided me with two informatives. The first discussed the task force’s findings and recommendations regarding library staffing, book collections, technology capabilities, library staff roles with respect to the Common Core, funding sources, collaborations with LAPL and charitable organizations, alternative plans to increase library access, and the communities with the highest need for library services. The findings and recommendations can be found in the attached informative, dated June 25, 2014.

In summary, the Teacher Librarian (TL) to student ratio for the district is one TL for every 5,784, far below the national average of one TL for every 1,026 students. The recommended ratio as laid out by the California Model School Library Standards (2010) is one TL for every 785 students. In addition, newer schools tend to have updated libraries equipped with high quality computers and a collection of books appropriate for this decade with respect to relevant information. Older schools, however, have poor working technology tools with outdated, worn out books.

Overall, the task force highlighted a “direct correlation between student achievement and access to appropriately staffed and well-stocked school libraries” (Muncey & Sinofsky, 2014, p. 2). They also concluded that LAUSD “does not provide all students with equitable access to school libraries” largely because there is no central funding for library staffing (p. 2). As a result, many libraries are closed because various schools are unable to fund staffing or choose not to. LAUSD also does not provide any funding to maintain and updated libraries with books and electronic equipment. The task force recommended that LAUSD centrally fund school library staffing and secure funds for “up-to-date print and electronic collections” in order to “provide all students with equitable access to library services”; this will in turn allow LAUSD to better “graduate students who are college prepared, career and life ready, and life-long learners” (p. 2).

Moreover, Dr. Sinofsky’s other informative, which addressed my second objective, explained that many library aide positions assigned six hours per day will be shared between two schools; three hours will be dedicated to one school library and another three hours will be dedicated to another school library in order to increase the number of library aides in LAUSD schools. Some aides will alternate days or weeks between schools, but there will not be any part-day schedules that require aides to travel between schools.

To determine which schools still needed library aides, Dr. Sinofsky connected me with Karla Gould, Personnel Director for the LAUSD Personnel Commission, who then connected me with Eva Segee, Assistant Personnel Director for the Classified Employment Services Branch. Ms. Segee informed me that there are a total of 350 library aides within the district. Of those 350, 182 support two school sites, 133 work at a single site six hours per day, and 35 are assigned three hours per day at a single site. There are currently 15 schools in LAUSD that still do not have a library aide or TL position, two of which are in board district six (Byrd Middle School and Lowman Special Education Center). This number, however, is tentative, as David González, Education Deputy of Board District 6, notified me that Mt. Gleason’s school library has since closed, so there may be more schools without library aides or LTs than reported by the Personnel Commission.


As of now, 15 schools do not have a library aide or TL; two of those schools are in board district six. To rectify this situation, it is essential that board district six staff work closely with the Budget Services and Financial Planning Division to secure funding for these seven-and-one-half library aide positions. After funding is secured, staff must then collaborate with the Personnel Commission, the Integrated Library and Textbook Support Services department, and the schools’ principals to ensure that candidates for these positions are identified and hired.

Additionally, I advise the Superintendent and the members of the Board of Education to review the recommendations laid out by the Modern Library Task Force to discussfurther steps to improve the quality of the libraries district-wide. While many more schools now have library aides and TLs as a result of this resolution, further steps need to be taken to maximize the support that libraries can provide for students. More funding, for example, must be allocated to increase book collections; the district only has 17.6 books per student while the state standards call for 28 (Muncey & Sinofsky, 2014, p. 4). The district also must use these funds to enhance older libraries with updated electronic equipment such as computers and tablets.

Using these recommendations, as well as the nearly 40 recommendations laid out by the Modern Libraries Task Force, board district six staff should write a new resolution tofurther develop the quality of libraries district-wide now that access has been expanded.

Works Cited

Muncey, D.E., Sinofsky, E.(2014). Modern Library Task Force Report of Findings and Recommendations