Washington district latest to eliminate librarians
Amelia Harper April 18, 2019
As school districts prioritize their budget needs for the coming year, there is a temptation to cut school librarian positions or reduce them to part-time status as some school districts are doing. The decision in SPS also comes as President Donald Trump, for a third time, has proposed to cut federal funding for the Institute for Museum and Library Services, which provides grants to both public and school libraries.
Research supports the impact that school librarians make on academic achievement, especially with regard to reading and writing scores. For instance, a Pennsylvania study cited in the Spokesman-Review article notes that 1.6% fewer students tested at the below basic level in reading when they had access to full-time librarians. The difference was even greater for minority students and those with disabilities, averaging at about a 5% improvement for those populations. Other research also supports the academic benefit of school librarians and demonstrates how they contribute to learning gains.
But modern school librarians offer so much more. They also teach digital literacy and digital citizenship in a day of easy access to misleading information and fake news. Many oversee makerspaces in libraries and learning centers that have been updated to meet a host of student needs. And they support teachers and administrators by researching information, helping with lesson plans, culling websites to create links that provide the most relevant information, and assisting with technology needs.
more on school librarians in this IMS blog