Originally appeared March 18, 2010 American Libraries
Coinciding with her visit to a state-recognized school library program, American Association of School Librarians President, Dr. Nancy Everhart released the following statement in response to the elimination of school librarian positions in schools facing budget shortfalls.
“Faced with the pandemic loss of school librarian positions due to drastic and alarming cuts in educational spending, AASL continues to advocate for the school librarian as an indispensable member of the educational team. Not only do strong school library programs create an environment where independent reading is valued, promoted and encouraged, but studies have repeatedly demonstrated that students in schools with strong school library programs learn more, get better grades and score higher on standardized tests. By eliminating school librarians, schools are losing a vital collaborator whose educational specialty is teaching lifelong, independent learning skills. Without these crucial skills, how will today’s students succeed in tomorrow’s global economy?”
As schools in Wisconsin face impending budget cuts and the elimination of more school librarian positions appears certain, Everhart visited Luther Elementary School in Fort Atkinson, Wis., as a part of her tour of school library programs across the country. School libraries on the Vision Tour were nominated by their state association as an outstanding example of the field. Luther Elementary and school librarian Michelle Maniaci were nominated for this honor by the Wisconsin Educational Media and Technology Association (WEMTA). Everhart concludes her visit to Wisconsin with a speaking engagement at the WEMTA conference and a presentation on best practices gleamed while on her Vision Tour.
“School librarians, as educators, are being impacted along with teachers by the sweeping policy changes in Wisconsin and other parts of the country,” Everhart said. “Despite this, they are continuing to provide an excellent level of service and empower their students to be learners for life. In addition, school librarians are technology leaders who instruct teachers how to make the best use of these tools which are a substantial capital investment.” The goal of Everhart’s Vision Tour is to raise the profile of what an outstanding school library can do for students, as well as the school and local community by visiting exemplary school libraries in each state. More information about the tour can be found at www.ala.org/aasl/l4lvisiontour and www.outstandingschoollibraries.org.
The American Association of School Librarians, www.aasl.org, a division of the American Library Association (ALA), promotes the improvement and extension of library services in elementary and secondary schools as a means of strengthening the total education program. Its mission is to advocate excellence, facilitate change and develop leaders in the school library field.