Here are some talking points on why effective school libraries are so important for our students:
- Effective school library programs providing equitable access to certified librarians are indicators of school quality. Students with access to libraries are better prepared for college and careers.
- Effective school library programs with certified teacher librarians provide equitable access to print and digital resources, positively correlate with school success, and develop well-rounded students.
- School libraries and teacher librarians positively impact literacy for all students. Access to an effective school library program is crucial to developing literacy skills, particularly in early childhood.
- We must address the access gap in school libraries. Schools with a high percentage of students in need are more likely to lack a certified librarian and to have inadequate library resources.
- Librarians are teachers with access to extensive literacy materials and experience in connecting diverse students with the resources needed to develop literacy skills.
- Effective school libraries support students of all abilities and learning styles. Expanded access to school libraries improves outcomes for all students.
- Research proves children with access to effective libraries read more, and do better on reading tests.
- For children of poverty, libraries are typically the only available source of reading material.
- Libraries play an integral role in teaching and supporting 21st century skills crucial to college and career readiness, such as locating and evaluating information online.
- Employers want to hire employees with the ability to learn, create, build, and problem solve. The library is the lab where students practice these skills to prepare them to enter the workforce.
- Students entering university need basic research skills and an understanding of the services and resources available from a library in order to have success. Students coming from a school with a certified librarian are more likely to enter university with these skills.
- Students explore personal interests, career opportunities and advance study in the library, where they prepare for careers that may not yet exist and learn future-ready skills.
- Teacher librarians are experienced professional development providers. They work with all departments and grade levels, and understand how new techniques and technology can be applied to the entire campus.
- Teacher librarians collaborate on high-quality instruction with teachers from all curricular areas, resulting in job-embedded professional development that impacts every student.
- Because school librarians are master teachers, hiring a certified, quality librarian is a strategy to ensure students have access to a high-caliber teacher.
- Librarians, as they teach alongside other educators, empower their colleagues to take risks, use innovative practices, and achieve professional goals.
- Effective libraries are community learning centers that provide academic enrichment activities during non-school hours and offer wrap-around services to parents and students.
- School libraries provide equitable access to learning resources. Teacher librarians collaborate with others to provide personalized instruction, learning strategies and practice in using essential skills.
- Teacher librarians are key members of the leadership team who work to address campus needs and leverage partnerships to impact instruction and student achievement.
- Teacher librarians help students of various backgrounds bridge the digital divide at the point of need, curate digital resources, and integrate instructional technology.
- Struggling schools need access to a full-time, certified, quality teacher librarian implementing an effective school library program in support of students and faculty.
- Effective school library programs close student performance gaps and increase post-secondary readiness, including increasing graduation rates and providing comprehensive instructional support across all grade levels and content areas with a focus on sustained improvement in student achievement.
- The library is the largest classroom in the school which allows students to explore personal interests, solve problems, build information literacy skills, and graduate high school as college, career and community-ready individuals.
- Effective school library programs have been proven to have positive impacts on student achievement, digital literacy skills, college and career readiness, and campus climate and culture.
- Teacher librarians lead, teach and support district goals through their professional practice, programs and spaces. They are well-positioned at the leading edge of the digital transformation of learning.
- Every school must have an effective school library, properly staffed, and well-provisioned. Title I funding should be made available to support this goal. ESSA implementation should work to broaden funding definitions in California to allow local schools and districts to make these choices.
- Libraries need to be included in California ESSA language to ensure continued eligibility for all types of federal funding and grants.
Thanks to the Texas Association of School Librarians (txla.org/groups/TASL) for permission to borrow and adapt these talking points.