Measuring Our Impact

This report aims to overview our post-assessment of 165 rural elementary schools. The work was carried out by the Monitoring and Evaluation Team of The Library Project. By analyzing the results of weighted questions, this report will demonstrate the overall performance of the 165 libraries. We hope you will better understand the hard work the teachers and administration at each of our schools do daily.

Overall Performance
Library Frequency of Usage
Checkout Records
Teachers Guide Students with Book Selection
Number of Books Students Read Annually

Overall Performance

In terms of the daily management of a school’s library, 99% of schools open their libraries on a daily-to-weekly basis, and 78% of schools conduct book classification and registration, which is an area that we would like to see improvement.

In terms of creating a reading culture within the school, 95% of teachers provide guidance for students to choose books from their libraries. Furthermore, 93% of students have read more than 11 books from their library during the current year, which is an improvement from the prior year of 90%.

15% of schools conduct weekly reading activities is our worst performing indicator, although this result is not unexpected. Improving literacy and reading awareness is a slow process, and to compound the challenge, teachers rarely have any time left to hold additional class activities.

Answers to Six Weighted Questions

Schools opening library on a daily-to-weekly basis 99%
Schools with teachers helping students with book selection 95%
Schools with students reading more than 10 books annually 93%
Schools maintaining checkout cards 86%
Schools doing book classification and registration 78%
Schools conducting reading activities on a daily-to-weekly basis 15%

Library Frequency of Usage

Of the six weighted questions, the most important is the frequency of library usage. As shown in the figure, 79% of the schools open their library and let students read books every day, 20% of schools open their library every week, and 1% open their library monthly. These are beautiful results.

Our goal is to have library usage of daily-to-weekly. The results by far indicate that we have hit this goal. The single location that has a monthly schedule is not a school, but a youth service center. For that reason, a monthly opening is more realistic for their situation.

We find that there are three daily opening modes. The first is when a librarian or senior student opens a Reading Room during lunchtime. A small number of schools open their Reading Room the entire day because most schools do not have a full-time librarian. The second mode is when the schools have STEAM Classroom Libraries, and because they are unlocked and located in each classroom, it encourages students to read books at any time. The third mode is when the school has a Reading Room, and teachers bring a selection of books into their classrooms for the students to read.

How often does the library open?

Daily 79%
Weekly 20%
Monthly 1%

Teachers Guide Students with Book Selection

95% of teachers guide students on book selection. Although there are various ways for teachers to help students select books, the most common way is for the teacher to recommend related works according to the subject they are learning. Students then read the books in their Reading Room, classroom, or borrow to read at home.

Some librarians will also set a small blackboard in the school library to recommend good books to all students. For example, Mr. Lou Ying, a librarian in Ruixi Town Central Primary School, Guizhou Province, puts three small blackboards in his library, one of which is specifically for book recommendations.

Do teachers guide students with book selection?

Yes 95%
No 5%

Checkout Records

86% of schools have kept checkout records. Large schools do better than small and medium-size schools because library management rules in large schools have been in place for years. We also found that students in 78% of large schools are active participants in their library management (the ratio of small and medium schools is 55.4% and 70.9%, respectively), which we believe contributes to a higher book checkout rate.

There are many reasons why a school might not keep checkout records, such as being understaffed, the demographic of the students being special needs, or teachers believing the students are too young to take books home safely. In these cases, we overwhelmingly see students being allowed to read books at the schools, but not bringing books home for after school reading activities.

Do schools keep checkout records?

Yes 86%
No 14%

Number of Books Students Read Annually

94% of students read ten or more books annually; that is, on average, a little less than one book a month. 50% of students read more than twenty books annually.

Students from 6.1% of schools read less than ten books per year. These schools generally have unique circumstances, such as their students have special needs. These schools range from youth service centers to disabled children’s learning centers.

How many books do students read annually?

Over 20 books 50%
16-20 books 33%
11-15 books 11%
5-10 books 6%