College and career readiness


Today’s K–12 students will compete for jobs in a global economy. Many of those jobs haven’t been invented yet. To keep up with evolving technology and job markets, today’s students will need to be good readers and lifelong learners who can gather, evaluate, and use information to create new knowledge.

School librarians teach these skills. In fact, the American Association of School Librarians has developed a set of standards and other tools to help school librarians teach students to become learners ready to cope with the demands of life in the twenty-first century.

(Infographic courtesy of Remodeling Literacy Learning: Making Room for What Works, published by National Center for Literacy Education (NCLE).

Need for Improvement

Per ACT, a nonprofit organization that develops and administers a widely used college-readiness assessment:

In 2013, 64% of all ACT-tested high school graduates met the English ACT College Readiness Benchmark, while 26% met the ACT College Readiness Benchmarks in all four subjects. Forty‑four percent of graduates met the Reading Benchmark, and 44% met the Mathematics Benchmark. Just over 1 in 3 (36%) met the ACT College Readiness Benchmark in Science. [1]

Common Core State Standards

Many states and school districts have adopted the Common Core State Standards. (Unfamiliar with the standards? A three-minute video can give you the big idea.)  These standards were developed and adopted because of wide-spread awareness that many high school graduates do not have the skills they need to be successful in college and careers. The standards emphasize the importance of reading comprehension and of finding information and using it effectively.

School library programs led by certified school librarians are essential components of an education that helps students learn and grow to meet the Common Core State Standards, as well as the American Association of School Librarians’ National School Library Standards for Learners.  For a very detailed look, see Implementing the Common Core State Standards:The Role of a School Librarian (PDF).

Source of Information about College and Careers

School libraries can be gateways to important information about colleges and careers. For example, school librarians know about resources (like those available here) to help students assess their own interests and find careers that match those interests. Well-equipped school libraries enable all students to explore those resources—even students who have no access to the Internet at home.

Source [1] = ACT, Inc. 2014. “The Condition of College and Career Readiness 2013.” <> (accessed March 7, 2019).

School Libraries Infographic

School Libraries Infographic


Share this infographic with principals, administrators, and other parents.

Magazine cover: School Libraries Transform This new digital magazine produced by AASL in partnership with American Libraries, is designed to be shared with parents, colleagues, administration, and policymakers. Available electronically or as a PDF download, this tool can open the door to discussions on the multiple ways school libraries transform learning.