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Carl Harvey II writes in In today's Huffington Post:
As the leader of the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) and an educator, I am struck by the lack of support for school libraries from federal and local governments. Do decision makers fully realize how their lack of support will hinder the education of America's next generation? Due to the lack of funding for school libraries, students are at risk of not having some of the most critical 21st century skills needed to compete in the global marketplace.
There is a common misconception that technology replaces school libraries and school librarians. Rather, in reality the explosion of technology and information access makes having full-time access to a state certified school librarian and school library program even more critical for today's learners. There is an entire new skill set today's students will need as they enter the workplace, and school librarians are the leaders in helping teach these skills to students.
Two things are discouraging about young Quebecers' reading skills.
The first is the nationwide-reading test whose results came out this week: Quebec's eighth-graders scored "significantly lower" than Canadian students as a whole. (Quebec's English public schools ranked fifth among the provinces. Their counterparts in French schools fared far more poorly than in the previous test in 2007.)
The other thing that's discouraging is that no solution for this problem exists in Quebec.
The crisis of information literacy, a familiar issue within the library community, is getting some wider attention. In this month’s Wired, Clive Thompson cites a recent study that reveals the paucity of search skills among so-called digital natives at both high school and college levels. Importantly he gets to the vital role school librarians play in fostering information literacy, including the critical approach to content, dubbed “crap detection” by Howard Rheingold.
See article in a School Library Journal
The library at Rowen Elementary School in North Philadelphia is musty and outdated - a locked room used for storage and occasional meetings, a repository of yellowing, untouched books. But Callie Hammond has big dreams for the room, whose leather-bound encyclopedias were printed in 1986, the year she was born. The plan is to start in city elementary schools with no library. Library Build would recruit and pay library science graduates in exchange for a two-year service commitment to city schools.
"Libraries do amazing things," said Hammond, who was a Philadelphia School District middle school teacher until she was laid off in June. Read more at Philly.com.
A Call for Opening Up Web Access at Schools
Students, teachers and librarians across the United States are questioning whether schools should block Web sites.
Entire categories of Web sites had been blocked, including those that involved games, violence, weapons, even swimsuits, said Judy Gressel, a librarian. “It just got to the point that it became hard to conduct research,” she said, adding that students could not read sites about, say, military weapons for a history paper.
School libraries replaced with 'learning commons' (Catholic school system in Ontario)
"We've kept reference materials here (in the library)," school principal David Lozinsky said. "That will help the teachers when they come to a certain point in their curriculum. Whether they're working on research, iPads, let's face it, it's a digital world now, Everything in the school, like books will be online, so there might not be a need for books anymore," he said.
It's September, a time to remind children that we care about them and have high hopes and all that.
So what's going on in Los Angeles Unified? The school district is dumping 227 of its 430 elementary school library aides and cutting the hours of another 193 aides in half.
Welcome back to school, kids.
More from the LA Times.
Remember Janis Ian? Cool singer/songwriter from the 60's who describes herself as "Northern, white, Jewish, gay, female, vertically challenged (and an) artist", now living in Nashville TN for the last 23 years. She addressed librarians there recently (thanks to Valerie from Somers Library for the tip!)
"I didn’t realize I was a freak until I started kindergarten. The teacher began showing us how to print letters. I raised my hand and asked to be excused, saying I already knew how to read and write and would much rather be reading. The teacher called me a liar, and made me stand in the corner for the rest of the afternoon. I was outraged, and complained bitterly to my mother when I got home.
The library saved my life. The librarian, Mrs. Anna Baker, was my first true friend – someone who listened carefully, responded truthfully, and gave me every scrap of knowledge she could muster through the books she controlled.Fortunately, my mother was also outraged, though at the thought of anyone calling her child a liar. She came with me the next morning, talked to the principal, and thereafter – provided I made good grades – I spent most of the writing hour with my nose buried in a book. -- Read More
Two and a half months after an unpredictable tornado nearly destroyed Joplin schools, five Marshall (MO) librarians heeded the call of Joplin's Library Media Specialist Bonnie Turner without hesitation. MHS Librarian Rebecca Cramer, Early Elementary Librarian Debbie Hollrah, Eastwood and Northwest Librarian Betsy Lewis, BMS Librarian Katie Berger and retired BMS Librarian Beth Chase agreed within an hour of the initial email that they'd make it work.
They weren't alone. Marshall School District approved the one-day trip they took Friday, Aug. 5, which was scheduled as a contracted workday in Marshall Schools.
"We really appreciate the support," Cramer said of the district's willingness to stand behind them.
The women's goal was to assist Turner with organizing the busloads of books that had been donated. More than 70,000 manuscripts were given to the district after the EF-5 tornado decimated much of the property. The Missouri Association of School Librarians put out a call to all districts, which then recruited volunteers and were assigned a day to work.
"As soon as we all saw it collectively, we said 'okay. We can do that. We know how to do that,'" Cramer said of the request.
The librarians processed and sorted through mountains of books that reached halfway up the school's paneled walls. Looking back, they realized how lucky they are. -- Read More