Thursday, March 31, 2011

2d Letter: Sample Advocacy Letter: 85 LAUSD Teacher-Librarians Laid Off

2d of 2 letters from Kathleen Sheppard, Teacher Librarian, Taft High School, Woodland Hills, CA (Los Angeles Unified School District or LAUSD).

She urges all to write, email and call to advocate on behalf of the 85 Teacher Librarians laid off by LAUSD...


Dear Mr. Cortines and LAUSD Board Members:

Strong School Libraries Build Strong Students! Our students need strong school libraries.

Students need the library team of a certificated Teacher Librarian and a paraprofessional library aide. Five decades of research substantiates that school libraries help students learn. “School libraries are learning laboratories where information, technology and inquiry come together in a dynamic that resonates with 21st century learners.” Teacher Librarians are dually credentialed teachers---teachers of essential skills including research, cyber safety and digital literacy.

The Teacher Librarian teaches the Model School Library Standards: “School Library Standards for Students’ that incorporate information literacy skills in which students learn to access, evaluate, use and integrate information and ideas found in print, media and digital resources enabling them to function in a knowledge-based economy and technologically-oriented society.” California public schools with strong school library programs tend to outperform those without such programs on the state’s STAR tests. This trend holds regardless of the school community’s parent education and poverty levels, ethnicity, and percentage of English language learners. Strong school libraries help students learn.

Students that have access to more books and a teacher librarian read more and learn more. Collective evidence suggests that the number of books per student in a school library is a significant predictor of reading achievement. Teacher Librarians help students at the convergence of reading, information and thinking. Today’s students are challenged by texts they retrieve from subscription databases, Internet web sites and electronic books in addition to traditional print. Reading is different today and Librarians teach students about digital text.

"Despite the facility that the 'Google generation' uses the Internet, today’s learners are not more information literate than previous generations.” Multiple literacies, including digital, visual and technological literacy are critical and require explicit help to make sense of the store of information, disinformation, and misinformation encountered daily. The instructional role of the Teacher Librarian is critical in this sense-making process.

Our school libraries provide a learning laboratory with resources in multiple formats that can differentiate instruction for diverse learners and providing equitable access for equal educational opportunity.

Our school libraries contain over $280 million of taxpayer funded print and electronic information in addition to the technology, including hardware and software. It’s irresponsible to leave these valuable taxpayer resources unused and vulnerable to destruction. Teacher Librarians maximize through collaboration students' access and use.

I urge you to reconsider the lack of centrally funding both middle and high school Teacher Librarians. Our students and our communities will lose. The challenges of the 21st century call for a more collaborative teaching model with a natural synergism of information, technology and reading. Cutting Teacher Librarians is not the solution to facing the challenges of preparing students for the future.

READ the research. Review the data. How much of a difference do school libraries make?

It’s clear. Promote equity, opportunity, and achievement: restore central funding of Teacher Librarians for both middle and high school students. It’s about the bottom line, student achievement. “School libraries, now more than ever, are integral to quality learning and teaching in 21st century schools.”

Our students---all our students---need strong school libraries.


1 comment:

  1. Great Letter! Some of these ideas should be used for every school board who is considering laying off school librarians!