Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Moms, Kids, and Strong School Libraries

The California School Library Association is reaching out to local Mother's Clubs to engage young mothers early about the importance of strong school libraries. CSLA writes: "Our children lead us into all sorts of new things to learn and fight for. Our children grow fast and soon will be headed to school. Your school libraries look lovely, but they are in serious trouble and need strong parent friends and advocates -- NOW."

CSLA invites Mothers' Club to learn how to become advocates for their child's school libraries and provides two stories for their membership newsletters.
Hello moms!
Reading is one of the best things that parents and kids can do together starting right after birth! Board books, cloth books and cuddle time with mom or dad gets kids off to a good start.

As children grow and start school, their school library is one of the best places they can go to to get great books and other materials. School libraries reach all the kids in a school.

But all is not well in California school libraries. Budget cuts are sending teacher librarians back into classrooms or into retirement. They are being replaced by classified personnel, or by volunteers such as yourselves. Our students need to have the instructional expertise that a teacher librarian can give. If your school had a teacher librarian supported by a clerk then your student would:

- be taught how to effectively use the library to find books of their choice

- be taught how to locate websites appropriate to their subject, reading level and interest
- be taught how to stay safe on the internet
- have a professional there to select books of interest to students in the school, organize them and then help each student find the "just right" book for them each week.

California school libraries are in trouble and they need your help. Learn more how strong school libraries make strong students.

The California School Library Association has produced a CD called "Circulate This! Stories from the school library". This audio journal would make an excellent presentation for your next mother's club meeting. You can download it from ITUNES or via to listen to it streaming. Questions, please contact

Hello moms!

When you tour your child's school for the first time, you'll be shown the school library. It is the heart of the school. It is where groups gather. It is where PTA and committee meetings are held. But ... how does a parent know if there is a strong school library program or a collection of old books that have not been "weeded" for years? The California School Library Association has created a checklist for parents and policymakers. Here are some questions you can ask:
Does the library have:
  1. 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.
  2. Lots of carefully selected books, databases, and other learning resources? Resources must reflect the school curriculum and student recreational reading needs.
  3. 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.
  4. Technology, including hardware, software, and networking that form a virtual library without walls linking students to the world of information, a cybrary that fully supports the school curriculum, 24/7.
  5. Its doors open before, during and after school hours, with liberal circulation policies? This means access to the school library, its resources, and staff.
We encourage Mothers Clubs to become "Best Sellers" for Strong School Libraries. See

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