LIS Trends

Archive for November 2012

An Important New Tool for Public Libraries Helps Them Tell Their “Story”

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As society becomes increasingly technological, Libraries, particularly public libraries, are finding it more challenging to explain their relevance to their communities. Many people think that with the pervasiveness of the Internet and the wealth of information available on it, as well as the rise in e-reader ownership and other digital technologies, that libraries will no longer be needed within the next few years. With this prevailing attitude among the public, library staff are feeling compelled to prove their continued relevance not only to increase or maintain their funding, but also to keep their communities involved in their mission of open access to information, education, charity, advocacy, etc. Some libraries are finding very unique ways to get this message across. One such library is the California State Library.

The California State Library, located in Sacramento, California, is a central reference and research library for the Governor’s office, legislature, state employees, and the general public. On November 3, 2012 at the Annual California Library Association Conference held in San Jose, California, the library presented an exciting new tool that could help public libraries around the country illustrate their relevance in the digital age. The tool, which they titled “The Emerging Story of California Public Libraries,” is a document, or “story map,” that libraries can use to tell their story of why they are important; what the changing role of librarians are, how libraries are adapting to digital technologies, and the many services libraries provide that are still very useful and necessary today, even in a technological landscape (“Sierra Sun Times”).

Though the story map that the California State Library is intended for use in California public libraries, a tool such as this could easily be adapted for any library in the country, maybe even abroad. The important thing is that libraries share their story with their communities and give them a chance to grow with them as they have to continue to adapt to a world that is becoming more digital.

Sources:

“California State Library announces The Emerging Story of California Public Libraries.” Sierra Sun Times. 09 Nov. 2012. Web. Last Accessed 12 Nov. 2012. <http://goldrushcam.com/sierrasuntimes/index.php/news/mariposa-daily-news-2012/140-november/6841-california-state-library-announces-the-emerging-story-of-california-public-libraries>.

 

“The Emerging Story of California Public Libraries.” California State Library, 02 Nov. 2012. Web. Last Accessed 12 Nov 2012. <http://www.library.ca.gov/lds/docs/CAPublicLibraryStoryMap.pdf>.

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Written by JenniferMillen

November 12, 2012 at 8:31 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

School Librarians and Budget Cuts

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A current trend in education budgets are the large cuts that have caused schools to lay off one of their most precious commodities: School Librarians. In a 2011 New York Times article, Frederick Santos sheds light on schools, from Oregon to New York City, that have been forced to pick between full- time teachers who work with children all day and the support staff which include their librarians. “In New York…school officials said they had little choice but to eliminate librarians, having already reduced administrative staff, frozen wages, shed extracurricular activities and trimmed spending on supplies.” (Santos, 2011).  Some might think this is just another frivolous job lost in today’s economy. I mean they still have teachers right? Of course teachers are the most essential part of our schools, and they do pretty amazing things to educate America’s students, but according to a new study done by the RSL Research group out of Colorado, school librarians are the key to more successful students. The Education Law Center hired these researchers to examine the 2010-11 Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA) tests in Reading and Writing for students in grades 3-11, and track outcomes for students based on five school library factors: staffing, collections, digital resources and technology infrastructure, library access, and funding. (Education Law Center, 2012) Here are the results from the Education Law Center’s Press Release:

• Students who have access to a full-time, certified librarian scored higher on the PSSA Reading Test than those students who do not have such access.       This finding is true for all students, regardless of their socio-economic, racial/ethnic, and/or disability status.

• For several student groups that tend to experience achievement gaps—economically disadvantaged, Hispanic, Black, and those with IEPs (Individualized Education Programs)—Reading and Writing results are markedly better when those students attend a school with a librarian and library support staff, according to the research. In fact, they benefit more proportionally than the general student population.

The press release goes on to express interest in research that is happening in other states,  and how the positive results are an indication that getting rid of school librarians is indeed no way to help our students progress. In fact, in these times of budget cuts and layoffs it is essential that education not be the hardest hit. Schools with more resources for their students, including an on staff librarian,  are essential for our future. The Education Law Center is just one of many state organizations trying to save our public education system, and saving our school librarians is a very good way to do that. I encourage you to find out how school librarians are being affected in your state, and what you can do to help save them if their jobs are in danger.

Resources

Education Law Center. (2012). New PA study shows full-time school librarian boosts student achievement [press release]. Retrieved from http://www.elc-pa.org/schoollibraryresearch_alert.html

Santos, F. (2011, June 24). In lean times, schools squeeze out librarians. New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/25/nyregion/schools-eliminating-librarians-as-budgets-shrink.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

 

Written by liskris

November 6, 2012 at 9:27 am

Posted in Uncategorized