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Beginning December 31, 2000, new operating standards went into effect for Ohio school libraries. Ohio schools are no longer required house libraries in their buildings. Despite concerns expressed by the library community, the Ohio Board of Education approved revisions to Section
3301-35-03-B-2 of the Ohio Administrative Code (OAC), which had previously required that every school building have a library. The section also addressed areas of collection development, staffing, instruction, and funding of school libraries.
With the adoption of the new standards, the language addressing school libraries, now contained in Section
3301-35-06-I-1, states that \"Student support services \'may\' include access to library media and information technology programs...\" There are no longer any guidelines for facilities, collection development, staffing, instruction, or funding. Under the new code, school libraries in the state of Ohio are optional. In addition, school districts are no longer required to hire librarians with an MLS. Previously, each district, regardless of size, was only required to employ one degreed professional librarian.
Section 3301.07 D of the Ohio Revised Code does address school libraries by assigning responsibility to the State Board of Education for setting standards for
schools to provide \"efficient and effective
instructional materials and equipment, including library facilities.\" School library programs that do not provide
critical educational resource services that are valued in their environment will have little support within the school district and risk losing their space and funding. Ohio school libraries are already notoriously underfunded, and their ability to provide such critical educational resources is severely hindered.
Research shows that strong school library programs
have a positive effect on student achievement.
With this lowering of standards in Ohio school libraries, one can only wonder what the future holds for students in Ohio schools.
For more information on Ohio School Operating Standards, Click Here