Monday, November 9, 2009

School Libraries Lacking - Newspaper article

The San Mateo Daily Journal | November 09, 2009 carried an interview with yours truely in the role of concerned parent and California School Library Association VP-Communications. The front page article was headlined "School Libraries Lacking".

A strong school library program is the cornerstone of a healthy school. School libraries require buy-in from administrators, programs based on state standards, high visibility, and strong, committed advocates – like you! My message focused on state standards for school libraries, elements of a strong school library, and equity. Compelling personal story (to reporter) was how there were full-time teacher librarians at each middle and high school when my children attended them. They are now in college and beyond, but current students are getting shortchanged. Today's students are less prepared for college and careers.

AASL's new national standards and California's new DRAFT model school library standards are important BLUEPRINTS. Promote the standards so parents and policymakers can properly prioritize and fund strong school libraries.

Here are five questions you can ask in order to better understand if a school has a strong library program. Does the library have:
  • A full time, certified school Teacher Librarian and a full-time paraprofessional working as a team? This allows the teacher librarian to collaborate with teachers in co-designing instruction which incorporates information literacy into the curriculum.
  • Lots of carefully selected books, databases, and other learning resources? Resources must reflect the school curriculum and student recreational reading needs.
  • A program which provides instruction and activities for students to use the research process in finding the information they need? Research is a process, not an end product – it is the thinking process which the students benefit from, not the ultimate "find." The "find" is generally forgotten – while the process remains with them forever.
  • Technology, including computers networked to the community and the Internet; sufficient eDatabases, DVDs, audio and video technology related to the school curriculum?
  • Its doors open before, during and after school hours, with liberal circulation policies? This means access to the school library, its resources, and staff.
See also the California School Library Association advocacy program, "Best Seller" Campaign for Strong School Libraries.

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