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Canadian Library Association Disturbed by Cuts to School Libraries

Posted by CLA Govt Library and Info Mgmt Professionals Network on 2012/04/12

(April 12, 2012) The Canadian Library Association (CLA) is disturbed by the recent announcement of the elimination of all school librarian positions in the Chignecto‐Central regional school board in Nova Scotia. Media reports indicate that 41 school librarians will no longer have jobs as of 30 June. And by extension, hundreds of students in the region will no longer have access to qualified staff in their school libraries.

Information and digital literacy skills are increasingly crucial for students to succeed in their academic pursuits and in future employment, and to become informed and engaged citizens. School librarians serve an essential function in providing leadership and support within schools to ensure that students can acquire these skills.

“Having a school library is not enough. The libraries need to be staffed by qualified teacher‐librarians and technicians, who bring a dedicated skill‐set to coordinate and supplement the work of teachers,” said CLA President Karen Adams.

A teacher‐librarian is an accredited teacher with additional qualifications in librarianship, with those added skills focused on expertise in digital (computer) information.

“Over twenty years of research supports increased student achievement with quality school libraries coordinated by certificated teacher‐librarians,” said Linda Shantz‐Keresztes, Chair of the CLA School Library Issues Advisory Committee. “Our national study, Achieving Information Literacy: Standards for School Library Programs in Canada, emphasizes that the library is the heart of learning and essential to student success. Without trained and qualified library staff Nova Scotia will not be able to meet the acceptable standards outlined in this document. This should be a serious concern for Nova Scotia parents in advocating for the highest standards in their children’s education through effective school libraries.”

Substantial research over several decades provides clear evidence of a correlation between good quality school libraries and increases in student achievement. School boards across Canada need to take note and allocate sufficient resources to maintain and improve school libraries and the essential services that teacher‐librarians provide.

‐30‐

CLA is Canada’s largest national library association, representing the interests of public, academic, school and special libraries, professional librarians, library workers, library trustees, and all those concerned with enhancing the quality of life of Canadians through access to knowledge, literacy and lifelong learning.

For more information, please contact:
Alana Fontaine, (613) 233‐8906 (Office), (613) 299‐4017 (Cell), cla@impactcanada.com

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