[with apologies for cross-posting]

For Immediate Release
May 28, 2002

Toronto (May 28, 2002) - A national coalition wants provincial
governments to sharply increase school-library acquisition budgets and
hire new teacher-librarians as a means of improving standardized test
and reading scores for Canadian school children.

"The research from the U.S. is very clear," says coalition member Patsy
Aldana, a children's publisher. "A well-stocked, professionally-staffed
school library has a direct impact on increased test scores. But
Canada's provincial governments seem unwilling to do their own studies
to demonstrate these connections, and that's regrettable."

Based on the mounting evidence of a crisis in Canadian school libraries
(see backgrounder), Canadian politicians are ignoring the U.S. results
at their peril. "Across the country," says parent activist Annie Kidder,
"drastic education funding cuts are forcing school boards to lay off
school librarians, slash acquisition budgets and even close libraries,
which means children don't have access to the resources and expertise to
learn the new curriculum. It's unbelievable that Canadian children would
have to attend a school where the library has been closed, but that's
precisely what's happening."

The Canadian Coalition for School Libraries is calling on provincial
education ministers to make three key policy changes:

mandate all public and separate school boards to assign a dedicated
fully qualified, full-time teacher-librarian for every school;

establish a minimum library materials acquisition budget of $36 per
student for elementary schools, $43 for junior schools, and $46 for high
schools (the current Canadian average is about $7);

immediately conduct province-wide studies to determine the links
between school library budgets and standardized student test scores.

Founded in March, 2002, the Canadian Coalition for School Libraries
believes that school libraries are an integral component of a healthy
public education systems, to give our children the opportunity to become
confident, productive Canadian citizens. As such, school libraries must
be well-stocked, well funded, and professionally managed by qualified
teacher-librarians. The coalition's mission is to draw together a wide
range of stakeholders - including, but not limited to, parents,
teacher-librarians, writers, educators, publishers, library wholesalers
and literacy advocates - in order to sponsor original research; provide
policy analysis to decision-makers at all levels of government; develop
new partnerships and approaches for fostering dynamic school libraries;
and communicate the issues to the broader Canadian public.

Its founding organizations are the Association of Canadian Publishers,
the Association of Teacher-Librarianship of Canada, the Canadian Library
Association, the Canadian School Library Association, the Canadian
Association of Children's Librarians and People for Education. Members
also include the Canadian Children's Book Centre, the Ontario Library
Association, the Library Association of Alberta, Frontier College,
Newfoundland and Labrador Library Association, author Robert Munsch and
University of British Columbia professor Ken Haycock. The honourary
chair is Roch Carrier, National Librarian. The website is at

For further information:

Patsy Aldana: 416-537-2501
Annie Kidder: 416-534-0100

Please visit the CLA website at for background
information and additional resources.

Canadian Library Association
328 Frank Street
Ottawa, Ontario
(613) 232-9625; Fax: (613) 563-9895