My principal asked me this week to supply her with current research demonstrating the positive impact that flexible library schedules can have on student performance. Some of our parents and teachers are asking why we have adopted an open library policy this year, so we are putting some information together to show that this is a data-driven decision. Here are the resources I’ve shared with her:
School Libraries Work! (2008)
Idaho School Library Impact Study (2009)
Study of Wisconsin School Library Media Programs (2006)
Delaware School Library Study (2006)
AASL Advocacy Brochures (for administrators, teachers, parents, and policymakers)
If you know of any other studies that make the case for flexible library schedules, please share them in the comments!
Originally this post title was to have referred to the fact that I was leaving my job at Alice Drive Elementary School and doing something else. I had become so disheartened at my failure over the years to institute any real changes in the library media schedule or program that I was ready to just give up and move on.
Enter my new principal, Mrs. Boozer. In May I shared a heartfelt letter with her and broke the news to her that I would not be returning. She responded to my concerns by letting me know that she had some of the same concerns herself, and that she wanted to begin making some changes that would set our Library Media program on the path to becoming a model program. Did you hear that? A Model Program!!!
Her first act was to take Library out of the related arts rotation, replacing it with a Math Lab. It took blood, sweat, and prayers on her part to work out a way to staff the Math Lab, but she persisted in the face of district red tape and budget constraints until she received final approval for her plans. Now our students are getting extra help and practice with math concepts, and our library is operating under a fully flexible schedule.
So, I want to publicly thank Mrs. Boozer for her faith in me, and to say that I’m grateful for this opportunity to serve our students, teachers, parents, and community in a new and more effective way. I’ve rediscovered my passion for my job, and I appreciate the fresh start that this year has brought.
Let the learning begin!
November has been crowned Picture Book Month by a team of children’s authors and illustrators, and the official website offers a new essay each day this month on why picture books are important. You can also find ideas for picture book activities and suggestions on how to celebrate.
Please take a moment (okay, a few minutes – it’s long) to read this post from the AASL blog. More action is needed to get school libraries into the ESEA (Elementary and Secondary Education Act) bill. SKILLS only has 5 co-sponsors (none from S.C., for those who were wondering) which means it is vulnearable to being cut from the final bill.
Basically, we need to continue calling, writing, faxing, and emailing our senators to let them know this is important.
It only takes a few moments to call the senate switchboard, ask for your Senators’ offices, and leave the message: SUPPORT SCHOOL LIBRARIES IN ESEA! OUR COUNTRY’S STUDENTS PERFORM BETTER IN SCHOOLS WITH SOLID SCHOOL LIBRARY PROGRAMS.
Click here to look up the contact information for your elected officials.
Update: I forgot to include this quote from the article, which really surprised me when I read it:
Unfortunately, we have not had great support from the education unions and from other K-12 organizations. We are competing with everything from literacy coaches to classroom teachers – even though we know that school librarians are both of these. In the present political environment and the challenging budget climate, we have to cling to survival for our school libraries and, more importantly, the students they serve.
Somehow I guess I expected that other professional education organizations “get” how important our school libraries are, and were fighting hard for us teacher librarians as well as for classroom teachers. They aren’t. It’s up to us to band together and speak out for our programs and our students.
I know this post is long, but I hope you will read it through, and then take action!
Here is a copy of the email I sent to all of the school librarians in my district last week:
Please see the messages below regarding the importance of advocacy in general, and a specific piece of legislation you can influence. We need our senators to co-sponsor the SKILLS (Strengthening Kids Interest in Learning and Libraries) Act, which is part of S1328. Click here for more info: http://capwiz.com/ala/callalert/index.tt?alertid=51784501
I have already called Senators DeMint (http://sc–ala.capwiz.com/bio/id/532&lvl=C&chamber=S) and Graham (http://sc–ala.capwiz.com/bio/id/531&lvl=C&chamber=S) at both their Washington and Greenville offices, to ask that they support the SKILLS Act. (I was a little nervous, but the people I spoke with at all four offices were very polite and friendly.)
We have to speak up for ourselves and our students if we want the support of the decision-makers, in Washington or anywhere else. Please add your voice to those who have already called or written to ask that our senators make school libraries a priority in the federal budget!
And here is the forwarded message I received from Fran Bullington, our SCASL Advocacy Committee Chair, that prompted my actions: