(Statement was not presented at meeting. This is an edited copy, removing names and quotes from emails.)
Statement for School Committee
“Studies conducted over the past two decades” including a study as recent as May 2015, “… show that students in schools with endorsed librarians score better on standardized achievement tests in reading, compared with students in schools without endorsed librarians.”
“This increase in scores exists regardless of student poverty level or overall staffing losses.
In a Colorado study (2006-2011), the presence of school librarians positively impacted students’ standardized reading scores even when controlling for student poverty (free and reduced-cost meal status).
In a national study (2011), even if schools had overall staff declines between 2004 and 2008, students’ standardized reading scores were better in schools that maintained or gained a librarian during this time period.”
There have been 7 elementary school library positions cut from .5 to .25. One middle school has cut from .5 to .25, and another middle school (technically three in one building) has completely eliminated the library teacher position.
School library teachers do more than just check in and check out books. I had student interns this past year who can handle check in/check out. By cutting, removing, and moving library teachers, bonds that we have created to teachers will also be cut. We are part of a team, not just a nameless, faceless cog.
School library teachers are, in fact, teachers. We have the same school requirements of all other teachers, such as a master’s degree and Department of Elementary and Secondary licensing as Library Teacher (All Levels).
- Teach literacy and love of reading by reading to younger students, hosting book clubs for middle and high school students, help with choosing independent reading books at all levels, including Life Skills students;
- Teach information literacy skills to students by utilizing technology such as Discovery Education, Edmodo, and other Web 2.0 applications;
- Teach library skills, such as research and evaluation of sources, to prepare students for higher grades, college, and careers;
- Collaborate with classroom teachers to support classroom learning;
- Attend professional development to bring back information to support classroom teachers;
- Are a point person for technology questions. Many library teachers are also the A/V Tech coordinator or webmaster for their building. Even those who aren’t also in those positions often work closely with that person to help provide technology support;
- Come in early, stay late, and miss lunch to help students with homework, independent reading, college advice, or simply provide a safe space that isn’t the cafeteria where students can chat quietly, collaborate with classmates on projects, or even just check their email.
By cutting library teachers, you take away a critical piece in student success. How can we provide our elementary and middle school students with the required skills to do well in classes if we are only seeing each class once a month? How can high school library teachers expect to prepare students for college if they enter high school lacking key skills?
Cutting library teachers is a recipe for failure.
(Information from http://www.lrs.org/data-tools/school-libraries/impact-studies/)
Library Impact by Allegra DAmbruoso is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.