Does Your School District Support Highly Effective School Library Programs?
- Is there a state-certified full-time school library media specialist? A recent study revealed there are 20% fewer school library media specialists in New Jersey Schools than eight years ago, and many of the school library media specialists are responsible for covering multiple schools. (Report by the New Jersey Library Association and the New Jersey Association of School Librarians)
- Does the school district have a Information Literacy Curriculum (which includes digital, visual, media, textual, and technological literacy) which is preparing kids for college and professions following graduation?
- Is the school library available for students and classes to access during the school day?
- Is the school library a safe and comfortable place for students and teachers to access information and resources?
- Does the school library have sufficient books (print and audio) that appeal to different tastes of children to encourage reading? Research shows that increased exposure to print resources increases comprehension, technical reading and spelling skills. (Mol, S.E., Bus, A.G., 2011)
- Does the library provide sufficient access technology and online research tools? Does the school library offer remote access to digital resources for use from home and elsewhere?
- Does the school library have enough budget to add new resources every year? A recent survey of New Jersey school library media specialists revealed, “89% of respondents cite Flat, Decreased or No Funding for their school library.”
- Do school library media specialists have the opportunity to collaborate with teachers to extend learning opportunities beyond the textbook and classroom?
- How do district and campus administration support the library?
- Did you know that strong school libraries support academic achievement and strong test scores?
Extensive research supports this statement, for more information including the current status for many of New Jersey’s School Library Programs read the following report: http://njla.org/sites/default/files/2016ESSAandNJSchoolLibraryPrograms.pdf
Check out our guide for how parents can advocate for their school libraries: http://unlockstudentpotential.org/index.php/how-parents-can-advocate-for-highly-effective-school-library-programs/
Want to see more school library advocacy resources? The American Association of School Libraries has Pre-service Toolkit for Principals and Teachers: http://www.ala.org/aasl/sites/ala.org.aasl/files/content/aaslissues/toolkits/PreserviceEducators_Toolkit_FINAL_2016-03-17.pdf