Teacher Education, Educational Leadership & Policy ETDs

Publication Date



The purpose of this study was to determine the strengths and weaknesses of the present library programs in the elementary public school libraries of New Mexico and to make recommendations for improvement based upon the national standards established by the American Association of School Libraries (1960). In November, 1965, 470 questionnaires with a cover letter were mailed to the 470 school principals in elementary schools of New Mexico. The percentage of return was 34.2. Of those responding, only 83 schools reported centralized libraries. These 83 returns were considered the usable questionnaires for the study. Schools were classified by size according to enrollment. The text was divided into the headings used throughout the questionnaire: housing, materials and equipment, the program of services (which included the personnel) and the budget. Applicable national and state standards were summarized under each heading, then the data concerning the specific category were analyzed. The strength of the elementary school library programs tended to be in the number of volume in each school. The over-all average number of volumes per pupil were six. There were no encyclopedia collections below the state standards. Seven were below national standards, however. One school district did report its libraries are developing into Learning Materials Centers and that, among other improvements, individual study carrels are being set up. Establishment of such learning materials centers represents a growing trend in school libraries today. The weaknesses of library programs described in the sample outnumber the strengths. Twenty of the centralized libraries were housed in places other than a library room. Only 16.9 per cent of the libraries had conference and reference rooms. Fifty-five per cent had audio-visual centers. The average percentage of the library budget apportioned for audio-visual materials was 6.2. The assignment of qualified personnel in adequate numbers continues to be the prime need which administrators must solve to assure a quality library program. Every library should have one full-time certified librarian for each 300 pupils and the librarian must be provided with clerical assistance in order that he may spend adequate time in group and individual library guidance. There were only 22 full-time and4 half-time libraries in the schools. The number of trained personnel probably would increase with the establishment of an ALA accredited library school in the state; however, there are no concrete plans for such a school at present. A basic conclusion derived from the data was that most New Mexico school librarians are in need of increased budgets if standards of excellence are to be achieved. One recommendation offered was that the state office of educations should employ at least one full-time person to work with the school districts to upgrade their libraries. Another was that the state department of education, under the direction of this person, should conduct a comprehensive study of the school library programs in the state of New Mexico every five years to determine the progress made and the needs. The annual principal’s report should include answers to at least five pertinent questions which how the progress for the year. These actions would result in an improved library program in the schools of New Mexico.

Document Type




Degree Name

Elementary Education

Level of Degree


Department Name

Teacher Education, Educational Leadership & Policy

First Committee Member (Chair)

Harold Dean Drummond

Second Committee Member

Laura Helen Walters

Third Committee Member

David Wayne Darling