Elimination of Librarian Position at St. Joseph Parish School
I am writing to speak about something I am very passionate about and to express my concern regarding St. Joseph Parish School’s decision to eliminate the position of Librarian as a resource for their students.
The value of a strong Librarian has been measured in studies conducted by the American Library Association, The National School Board Association, The Young Adult Library Services Association, and the Special Presidential Task Force on School Libraries; all of which have demonstrated that students in schools with a strong school librarian and extended library hours have scored 8.4% to 21.8% higher on English tests and 11.7% to 16.7% higher on reading tests, compared to schools where there were fewer resources or no Librarian presence at all (2015 State of America’s Libraries Report).
Eliminating this position, in any school, shows an ignorance on the part of administration in the key role a school librarian plays in a child’s education, especially in this era of Google, when today’s students are flooded with an unprecedented volume of information; eliminating a position that should be a vital collaborator with teaching staff, and whose educational specialty is teaching lifelong, independent reading and learning skills.
In an age where “everything is online” we need a professional in every school to help our children navigate through the information, collaborate with our teachers to understand our child’s reading level to find that right book, and get our kids excited about reading. All of this translates to life-long readers and a love of information in the digital age.
As a parent of a child at St. Joseph Parish School and as a professional Librarian myself, I urge St. Joseph Parish School to reconsider their decision. In fact, I ask all schools to weigh the importance of all education positions and the benefits they carry to our children come budget time, or else they will be faced addressing the questions and concerns of parents related to decreasing English and reading test scores once these positions are eliminated.
Parent, St. Joseph Parish School
Library Director, Oscar Grady Public Library