SLATE logo, a circle filled with stripes in several shades of blue and three white arrows pointing from the lower-left edge of the circle towards the upper-right area. To the right of the circle is the acronym SLATE in a sans-serif font.

It's here! RAILS is pleased to announce the launch of the SLATE School Library Data Commons, an online tool to view information about school libraries in Illinois. The information and resources available are essential to understanding and advocating for school libraries and their staff.

Click the image at the right to visit the site.

SLATE school data dashboard.

About the Project

In response to large gaps in the data representing Illinois school libraries discovered by the SLIDE Project, in January 2022 RAILS launched the School Library Data Project. The goal of our project is to gather data related to the staff, collections, and financial resources of school libraries to provide them with better targeted resources and support. In recognition of the ongoing nature of our efforts and to demonstrate our committment to school library advocacy, in Fall 2023, our project was formally renamed SLATE, which stands for School Library Advocacy through Education.

Data for our project has been and continues to be gathered from the following resources:

Illustration showing the various data sources that feed into school data.
  • National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)
  • Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE)
  • Illinois State Library
  • Dominican University iSchool
  • Illinois Heartland Library System
  • L2: Library Directory & Learning Calendar
  • Individual Schools, Districts, & Library Staff

Want to Learn More?

This 10-minute video from the 2022 RAILS Back to School Fest provides basic background information about how SLATE project began.

Slides from the Back To School Fest presentation can be viewed here.

Tools You Can Use

Interested in using data to support your school library? Learn more using the resources below:

The Value of School Libraries

Front side of The Value of Libraries document

Use this one-page document to share the importance and value of school libraries with administrators and colleagues.

"Unlock the Power of Data"

A session presented at the 2023 AISLE Annual Conference by Janette Derucki, RAILS Data Research Specialist, and Leah Gregory, IHLS Membership Coordinator - School Library Liaison.