UPDATE (May 1, 2017, 1:10 PM): A public hearing has been scheduled by the Woodbridge Township Board of Education to discuss the 2017/18 school year budget on Tuesday, May 2, 2017 at 7:00 PM at Avenel Middle School, 85 Woodbine Avenue, Avenel, NJ. Full Legal Notice

Woodbridge residents are urged to attend this meeting. This is your opportunity to express any concerns you might have with the proposed budget for the 2017/18 school year, including the elimination of all school librarians from Woodbridge Township School District.

The Woodbridge Township (NJ) Board of Education has recently decided to eliminate all remaining school librarians throughout its large district for the 2017/18 school year. Students in other Middlesex County towns such as South Brunswick, Sayreville, North Brunswick, and Metuchen enjoy the advantage of access to school librarians at all levels of education.  Woodbridge students will be asked to keep up in the Information Age, without access to a school library media specialist to provide information literacy instruction.

School library media specialists play a critical role in the educational development of students. Through their educational training, school library media specialists in New Jersey are not only certified as classroom teachers but receive graduate level training in literature, research and technology skills essential in a twenty-first century learning environment. No other faculty member is uniquely qualified to ensure that a student has the literacy background and research skills to succeed in the increasingly competitive global educational environment which all students must face.

And now Woodbridge Schools will have zero school library media specialists in the upcoming school year. Woodbridge students will be entering High School far behind students in other communities that benefit from fully supported school librarians and school library programs in the areas of research, literacy and information literacy skills. Woodbridge children will not even have the opportunity to go to the school library and have the school librarian match them with an appropriate book.

The decimation of the school library program in Woodbridge is targeted, and has taken place over the course of several years. No other line item in the budget has declined AT ALL with the exception of Extracurricular Activities. Links to budget documents are provided below.

Timeline of Recent School Library Cuts

2008/9 Library/Media Services budget is well-supported at $1,474,699

Budget Specific page: http://unlockstudentpotential.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/budget_09-10_extract.pdf

Entire Budget: http://www.woodbridge.k12.nj.us/Page/30579

2016/17 The Library/Media Services budget has faced drastic cuts and steadily reduced by half several years in a row to just $306,892

Budget  Specific page: http://unlockstudentpotential.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Budget_16-17_extract.pdf
Entire Budget: http://www.woodbridge.k12.nj.us/Page/151
2017/18 The final three school librarians are eliminated, effective June 30, 2017.

The 2017/18 Budget has not yet been posted by the Board of Education on the school website.

SLMSs are Essential to Student Success

School librarians play a critical role with instructional partnerships with teachers, curating both digital and print resources and helping develop research projects. Time for school librarians to enrich the curriculum for students will be completely eliminated with the firing of the last three school librarians.

We strongly urge you to restore these school library media positions. We believe you will never regret this decision. The result will be Woodbridge students who are skilled in using information to meet the challenging demands of the future for college and career. Were parents and students asked of they wanted school librarians eliminated?  Woodbridge students deserve to have the opportunity to reach their potential with the support of school library media specialists.

Take Action Now

Please fill out the following to send an email to the Superintendent and the School Board about the critical role school librarians play in preparing students for college and career.  Please share this link with your social network!

Be heard: http://cqrcengage.com/alanj/app/write-a-letter?2&engagementId=343053

Please also consider attending the next Board of Education Meeting:

Avenel Middle School
85 Woodbine Ave
Avenel, NJ 07001
May 18, 2017 6:00pm

School Librarians Eliminated in Woodbridge Township for 2017/18 School Year
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18 thoughts on “School Librarians Eliminated in Woodbridge Township for 2017/18 School Year

  • May 1, 2017 at 12:35 am
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    As a parent in Colonia, a teacher, and resident, I am beyond disturbed by your decision to eliminate librarians. True dissemination of information and research skills they provide and are invaluable will be irreplaceable and regretted. Please reconsider these cuts.

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    • May 2, 2017 at 7:45 pm
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      It breaks my heart to read this! Here’s my disclosure…I retired from Woodbridge in 2005; my title was Supervisor of Media Centers and Technology. Our library program, and our partnership with the municipal Technology Department , was the envy of many districts in NJ. In fact, we were often invited to present our program at national education conferences. 90% of our staff had a Masters in Library and Information services. Our curriculum was one of collaboration with all the education programs in our district.

      The Woodbridge administration and School Board are not fulfilling their own strategic plan…you cannot develop students ready to take an effective part in society if you do not teach them to effectively access, analyze and synthesize the vast amount of information coming at them every day. This is an age where government speaks of alternative facts and fake news…how will these students ever learn to distinguish between real and fake? How will they learn to effectively vet the candidates they find on their ballots? How will they be prepared for research papers at the college level?

      Studies show that students from schools with full time school librarians and well supported library resources outscore students missing this important component. I think I have to agree with Christy Palmisamo. If parents want their children to get fully prepared for the world of instant information…consider sending them to one of Middlesex County’s Vocational Technical High Schools,

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      • May 2, 2017 at 10:01 pm
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        I was one of those librarians that had the privilege of working under Pam Chesky at Avenel Middle School. While there my program was featured on classroom close-up. I willingly left a different, well funded, well staffed, school district just to be able to teach in a school district that had such high level teaching expectations for their school librarians that were at the hub of bringing their schools into the 21st century. The district was a model of information literacy throughout the state and even nationally. The school librarians taught students while also providing professional development for classroom teachers and administrators. There was a lot of bang for your buck with the librarians in the district. I had to leave wonderful colleagues and a job I loved when Woodbridge decided to cut their library program in 2010. I landed ok because of the amazing program I had the privilege to teach in and the experience I had under my belt. I have always been sad about the decisions Woodbridge made 7 years ago. Sad about the loss to the children. Sure you can Google anything, but that really doesn’t matter if you don’t know how to ask the question. In a world where so many are getting their news from Facebook and twitter how will your children compete in college or life against the students I am currently teaching that has a well funded library with alibrarian in every school? I recently had a prior student of mine who is currently a university student get in touch with me to thank me for the lessons he learned in the library. That he spends a great deal of time at his university library and that he could not possibly have written a 16 page paper for one of his classes had it not been for the things he learned while in high school. Maybe you should do like Pam Chesky suggested and opt out of the district schools for Vocational or Technology Schools.

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  • May 1, 2017 at 2:03 am
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    School librarians play a critical role with instructional partnerships with teachers, curating both digital and print resources and helping develop research projects. Time for school librarians to enrich the curriculum for students will be completely eliminated with the firing of the last three school librarians.

    We strongly urge you to restore these school library media positions. We believe you will never regret this decision. The result will be Woodbridge students who are skilled in using information to meet the challenging demands of the future for college and career. Woodbridge students deserve to have the opportunity to reach their potential with the support of school library media specialists.

    Reply
  • May 1, 2017 at 3:55 am
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    Pretty amazing. Graduated from Colonia High in ’97 and I do not have any children currently enrolled in Woodbridge School District luckily BUT get a clue. I have seen first hand along with other adults who deal with children born 1990 and later how we are neglecting and babying these kids. All teachers, principals and schools boards are worried about now in days in passing state mandating testing and how much money they can get parents to spend at the start of each school year on supplies. Money tight? Don’t seem so tight when the pay day comes around for the superintendent, principals and teachers now does it. What’s next, I know let’s eliminate Math since computers or IPhones do all the work for us; or how about English since technology does everything for us too. The future of this country and yes even world looks very dim. Please don’t ignore this or other responsible adults pleas. I myself am forward all correspondence to local media outlets and hope just hope they question you as well. Time to look into the mirror. The answer to all your budget problem might just be in your pockets.

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  • May 1, 2017 at 1:20 pm
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    This is a huge detriment to the students of Woodbridge schools. Expect test scores to go down and students to struggle as college students. Note that the Middlesex County Vocational Schools have a full staff of certified media specialists. Woodbridge Township high school students may choose to attend any Middlesex County Vocational high school instead of Woodbridge High School at no additional school costs and enjoy the support of media specialists. Checkout our website http://www.mcvts.net

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  • May 1, 2017 at 3:24 pm
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    I still remember Mrs. Rosenbaum, my librarian at School 2&16. That was more than 40 years ago. It’s very sad that the board has made this decision. At the very least, the elementary schools should still have libraries. The skills learned in those early years in the library are crucial later in life. How much money is spent on Athletics for new fields, field houses, lights, etc.? I know there is fundraising that’s done to assist in those costs, but how sad is it that the same can’t be done for something like libraries or media centers. The children in Woodbridge Township will suffer a big loss. In a word, this is shameful.

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    • May 2, 2017 at 7:54 pm
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      Thanks, Christy! NatLie Rosenbsum was one of my favorites, too.

      Reply
  • May 1, 2017 at 3:56 pm
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    Please note that the budget hearing for the Woodbridge Township Board of Education is Tuesday, May 2 at 7 pm and the final budget adoption is Thursday, May 4 at 7 pm, both at Avenel Middle School. If you want to be heard at a meeting, you should not wait until the next regular meeting. The full details of the meetings are here: http://s.nj.com/cETlkgF

    Reply
  • May 2, 2017 at 2:18 am
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    Both my sons are graduates of the Woodbridge school system now, but I can say both most definitely did use the librarian as a resource MANY times throughout their school years. As a longtime Colonia resident, it shocks me to read that eliminating librarians is even being considered. In light of the high taxes we pay (& are told so often that it is primarily due to school budgets), how could there possibly be a financial reason for considering elimination of this important position? I sincerely hope that parents of children currently in the school system will make their voices & opinions heard in this important matter.
    SPEAK UP, Woodbridge Township residents/parents!! Be an advocate for your child!!

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  • May 4, 2017 at 2:40 pm
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    The super cited the low book circulation numbers as his reasoning for eliminating the librarians. I’ve had the privilege of visiting the WHS library for a professional development session that the media specialist there hosted on Google Docs. While there, I saw the 3-D printing running and flyers for numerous other programs. I wonder if he took any of that activity into consideration? Did he also care to consider that these mobile information centers need to be managed by a professional skilled in teaching digital and information literacy skills?

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  • May 4, 2017 at 4:03 pm
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    This is a sad day for the Woodbridge Public Schools. I am not a town resident but urge residents to speak out. Library Media Specialists are critical to school success, supporting both teachers and students through materials that supplement the curriculum and pleasure reading. The library is the only place in the school that truly helps build readers in a very different way than the classroom teacher. Teachers build reading skills but librarians develop that muscle in recommending books that kids will love. The more they read (no matter what type of reading) goes a long way to ensure academic success. Studies have proven this. Free choice and wide range of choices is what makes readers. Librarians are the primary individuals in schools to help students with critical reading of the Internet-a necessity in this era of fake news spreading all over social media.

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  • May 6, 2017 at 2:16 pm
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    In an age of fake news, librarians are more important than ever in showing students how to navigate the often-treacherous waters of cyberspace. My son, a bio-sci professor at a NJ university has told me how deficient many of his students are in doing academic research because they didn’t have school librarians. You have decimated the program with previous cuts. Not only shouldn’t you keep these librarians you should be working to restore a librarian in every school Our students need librarians from kindergarten through high school. Don’t deprive them of a vital component of their education. Countless research studies have shown certified school librarians who’s program is supported by needed resources are a significant factor on student’s learning and achievement on high stakes tests. See http://www.scholastic.com/SLW2016/ for the evidence.

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  • May 6, 2017 at 8:02 pm
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    I wanted to share what a learning community loses when it loses its school librarians.

    An antidote to the frequently narrowed curricula we see in modern school culture, school librarians introduce young people to a rich world of books and literature, options they can select themselves.  School librarians lead in building a school-wide reading culture and cultures of inquiry.

    We scout, evaluate and introduce emerging technologies often leading a school’s professional development efforts.

    In the largest classrooms in our schools, we work with teachers to develop both traditional and emerging literacies.  With our classroom teacher partners, we build instruction; we build projects and assessments that focus on creativity and knowledge building using the information tools and strategies of our time.

    School librarians curate collections of quality content, as well as the tools learners need to effectively and ethically create and tell their stories. We also ensure ROI on purchased curricular content and the wealth of curricular resources invested in by our states.  Without this access, our students ignore thousands of dollars of content their parents’ tax dollars support.  Without physical and intellectual access to these resources, students will not be prepared for the similar high quality academic content they will encounter at the university and in business.

    School librarians encourage learners to explore their interests and to ask meaningful questions. We guide learners in inquiry. We ensure that when students ask questions, they exploit rich search toolkits that include high quality databases and ebooks and that they can evaluate sources that include blogs and tweets and magazines and newspapers and wikis, as well as scholarly journals and primary sources and media of all sorts.

    As it continues to shift, school librarians teach and model strategies for digital workflow. Through our websites and guides, school librarians organize the information worlds of our schools. We guide our communities in understanding information ethics. We teach about the growing Creative Commons movement and how to attribute Creative Commons licenses to students’ own work. We guide learners in understanding how to attribute credit, how to cite, how and when to quote regardless of the format of the product.

    School librarians are often the only professionals in the building who address the development of proud digital citizens and leaders—helping learners to understand their digital footprints, to build academic digital footprints and to respect the intellectual property of others when they remix and engage in new forms of communication and storytelling.  We move learners from digital citizenship to digital leadership–to participation, ethics, agency.

    School librarians ensure that our kids become information and media literate citizens. School libraries are vibrant, central elements of a school’s learning culture. School libraries ensure learners have the tools they need to learn, create, think, and share. School librarians ensure that all students have equitable access to these tools. Access to these tools is an intellectual freedom issue.  Every child deserves a robust school library program led by a professional, credentialed school librarian.

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  • May 7, 2017 at 11:11 pm
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    As many of you know, I’m sick about Woodbridge’s plan to eliminate all but one librarian in a district of 16 elementary schools, 5 middle schools, and 3 high schools. I believe that superintendents and other school administrators should be clamoring to have school library media specialists as leaders of their staff.

    I don’t need to repeat previous messages from others such as Pam Chesky, LaDawna Harrington or Joyce Valenza but I do want to appeal to the parents and guardians of students in Woodbridge to do whatever you can to reinstate school library media specialists’ positions. Nation-wide research proves that students benefit from a resource-rich school library that is staffed by a full-time school library media specialist. Do you want less for your students?

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  • May 11, 2017 at 7:36 pm
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    Yes, last week I wrote my letter of concern to the Woodbridge Board of Education as many of us found it our duty to respond to this terrible situation.

    I was raised and schooled in Woodbridge Township, therefore, the school librarian issues really tug at my heart.

    My generation was very fortunate to have had wonderful school library media programs and specialists, at EACH level of our education- elementary, junior and senior high school.

    These programs were meaningful extensions to our learning. Our school librarians were endearing, leaving an impression on us by connecting classroom learning with research skills necessary to survive in a world of information. They prepared us for college, careers and life beyond the brick and mortar of our school walls.

    Yes, we were fortunate to have good teachers and school librarians (who are also certified teachers, by the way), who worked together on lessons and made us realize there are “curricular connections”.

    Moreover, it was our school librarians who instilled a love of reading and research, leaving us with the profound impression that ” learning is life long”. For a school not to have a library media center staffed by a certified school librarian, is not a very innovative improvement to a 21st century education.

    Most of Woodbridge Township was, and still is, considered “blue collar”. To take away more resources from these students who come from families that may not otherwise have resources at home, would be a great disadvantage.

    Yes, school librarians are valuable resources, as well as printed books and non printed sources of information, computer databases and the internet, etc. They are the “human” resources that guide you through an ocean of information.

    School librarians are the “captains” of their media centers. Without these valuable team players on a school staff, who would teach students and teachers how to navigate in the high technological world we live in? Without them and their treasured resources, a school is a sinking ship, destined to be lost at sea.

    Yes, one might say, Woodbridge does have wonderful “Public Libraries”, but even they have had their share of major cut backs in the past. For example, my generation grew up with at least a dozen public libraries, the Main Branch being in Woodbridge Proper.
    Up until the early 1990’s, each section of Woodbridge Township, had their own “neighborhood” library branch. Now we are down to 3 or 4, and most people need a car to get to them. In the old days, we could walk to our neighborhood schools and public libraries.

    With the decline of test scores and failing grades in the Woodbridge Public School System, who will be moving out of Woodbridge for a better education, and what will happen to the value of our homes?

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    • May 11, 2017 at 9:55 pm
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      P.S. Because of the good education I received in the Woodbridge Schools, which staffed a certified library media specialist at each level of my education, my High School Librarians and Guidance Counselor encouraged me to apply to the Woodbridge Main Library for an after school job, where I worked my way through college.

      I give credit to both my parents, school and public librarians for guiding me in the right direction. I’m proud to have been the first generation of a hard working, loving, blue collar, immigrant family who grew up in Woodbridge Proper.

      To have earned a Master’s Degree, was a dream come true, not only for me, but for my parents and grandparents.

      I’m a retired school librarian who continues to serve children in local public libraries in Middlesex County.

      It is hoped that this opportunity to share and express our feelings, opinions and expertise will bring light to the School Administration, and assist the students, staff and parents of Woodbridge.

      Thank you.

      Reply
    • May 11, 2017 at 11:39 pm
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      If I may add to my previous comment:

      As a result of having had the exposure of a school library media center headed by certified school library media specialists, coupled with good teachers and public librarians in Woodbridge, I myself became a teacher/school/public librarian. I have since retired from school, and now serve children in public libraries, in a field that I love.

      Thank you for this opportunity to express our opinions and expertise. It is hoped all our expressions and testimony will assist the students, parents and staff members in their battle to preserve the last three librarians who remain, in one of the largest school districts in the state.

      Reply

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