We really appreciated how many people came to discuss this important issue. Registration for the event was free and held at The Collingswood Public Library on 3/19/19
The presentation given by the panel which included members of NJASL, Camden County Library, school librarians, and School Library Media Specialists drove home a compelling case in favor of library spaces in Collingswood elementary schools.
The entire panel and the CEAG asked caregivers and stakeholders to take the following advocacy steps:
A. Contact the Board of Education with three areas of focus:
- to emphasize the importance of the schools preserving their existing library spaces
- redressing the lack of library space at Tatem Elementary school
- advocating for the district to hire professionals for the library spaces rather than having the libraries staffed solely by adult volunteers and sometimes classroom teachers or school staff.
2. A132 / S2933 – Information Literacy Bill
What is NJASL?
The New Jersey Association of School Librarians (NJASL) promotes excellence in school librarianship and advocates for strong school library media programs for all students. NJASL provides school library media specialists with educational opportunities and current information aligned with state and national learning standards to ensure that all school libraries empower students, faculty, and staff to become effective and ethical users and producers of information.
Is There A Problem With Libraries In Collingswood Schools?
A. Reported: No Elementary School Librarians at the Elementary Level since 2012 retirement of elementary library/media teacher.
B. William P. Tatem Elementary’s Library had been repurposed for another classroom due to space restrictions. Some materials were re-homed into classroom libraries at the school, but with many books left over that are now out of circulation completely.
D. Inconsistent access to a school library for our students really adds to the issue of Equity in Collingswood Elementary Schools.
E. Our students realize how important libraries really are…
What Is A School Library?
- Quiet Room
- Filled With Books
The Reality (when a professional is dedicated for that purpose):
- Access to a maker space for things like Robot kits and a daily dose of STEM
- Augmented and Virtual Reality access
- A center for Professional Development
- Connects our schools with information resources
- Interlibrary loans
- Community Outreach
- A professional to research and write grants to fund these programs
Why Should We Be Investing In Professional Librarians and Library Space?
- A School Library Media Specialist helps students and teachers find resources and materials to assist with learning that is usually buried in a google search.
- The library space may also be reserved for lessons as a flexible learning space for when students are working on collaborative projects or otherwise need a bigger space than the classroom allows.
- Librarians are also connected to learning experiences that teachers may not be aware of like guests or the latest in media trends since they are “tuned in” to those channels all of the time.
What About Our Technology Curriculum?
While Collingswood’s Technology Curriculum (and almost all others) does include Media Literacy as a Core Content Standard, it is not the primary focus of these classes and we still see students struggling with finding reliable sources for their school and personal research work. Our District’s Curriculum Map May Be Seen Here.
A Consistent Voice Of Reason In Our Noisy World
The Stanford History Education Group (SHEG) did a study that was published in 2016 that showed
“Our “digital natives” may be able to flit between Facebook and Twitter while simultaneously uploading a selfie to Instagram and texting a friend. But when it comes to evaluating information that flows through social media channels, they are easily duped.”
Consider how on March 1, 2019, our district sent a letter home to parents warning of an internet hoax called “The Momo Challenge” letter here
It is hard to remember to always test sources unless we are constantly reminded that we need to do so. Librarians allow for the whimsy and empathy learned from fiction, while reminding us that we should be skeptical and that we should be tracing facts to their original sources; a life readiness skill for living in the modern world. By having a member of the staff that is dedicated to the testing of sources who is providing access to online tools that are reserved for research professionals, school librarians, or are available via Public Libraries has immense value. These programs are cost prohibitive when used by one user, but would be better used and cost effective if shared across multiple classrooms and schools.
By The Numbers
1. Collingswood School District has funding available via Title 3 and Title 1 for use in library spaces.
2. Our Library Staff: Student Ratio is hurting us in rankings 1988:1.
3. QSAC scores are affected by -3 points by not having school librarians
4. The cost (salary) for an Elementary School Librarian is approximately $64,300
5. Librarians could prove to be our smartest investment (or biggest bargain)
Click Here for even more helpful resources (Because… Librarians)
Listen To The Podcast:
Future Ready Schools:https://futureready.org/
Bureau of Labor Statistics https://www.bls.gov/oes/2017/may/oes_15804.htm