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Dear APLA members:

Three letters were sent today opposing the Chignecto-Central Regional School
Board's proposed cuts to school libraries, one of the letters to the chair
of the board, one to Premier Dexter, and one to the Minister of Education.
The latter two were slightly different versions of the letter to the chair
of the board, the text of which you will find below.

The Nova Scotia Association of Library Technicians (NSALT) has also been
vocal on the issue.  Despite the Minister of Education's swift action to
halt the cuts pending a review, the APLA Executive felt strongly that the
authorities needed to be reminded of the importance of school libraries.  We
are not out of the woods yet, and we stand with our colleagues who will be
most affected if the cuts are implemented.

 

Best regards,

 

Jocelyne

-----------------------_________________________________________

Jocelyne Thompson

President

Atlantic Provinces Library Association

 

 

 

 

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Atlantic Provinces Library Association

School of Information Management

Faculty of Management - Kenneth C. Rowe Management Building

6100 University Ave., Halifax, Nova Scotia

B3H 3J5

 

 

Ms. Trudy Thompson, Chair

Chignecto-Central Regional School Board

60 Lorne Street

Truro, NS B2N 3K3

 

 

April 16, 2012

 

 

Open letter to the Chignecto-Central Regional School Board opposing cuts to
school libraries

 

 

Dear Chair Thompson:

 

I am writing on behalf of the Atlantic Provinces Library Association (APLA)
to express our dismay at the recent news of planned cuts to the school
libraries in your district which would, if implemented, affect more than 40
FTE library professionals, and impoverish the educational experience for
thousands of students.  The Nova Scotia government's intervention in this
case was a welcome response although the outcome of the review which the
government has mandated is uncertain.  In the circumstances, it is our wish,
and indeed our responsibility, to remind you and your Board of the
importance of school libraries to student success.

 

We understand that the Board has some difficult decisions to make in order
to balance a reduced budget, but school libraries are not the place to cut.
School libraries are partners in the educational process, playing an
integral role in a resource-based curriculum. School library professionals
provide students with environments and learning opportunities that allow
them to develop the literacy, critical thinking, and information literacy
skills necessary for full participation in a knowledge- based economy.
These skills are essential for students going on to post-secondary
education.   

 

 

 

Research clearly shows a direct correlation between properly funded and
staffed school libraries and student achievement:

 

.         larger collections of library materials for students mean higher
achievement;

.         higher spending on books and other materials correlates with
improved reading scores;

.         library staffing levels correlate with test scores (in fact, U.S.
studies have consistently shown a 10-25% increase in scores on standardized
tests for students with a school librarian);

.         increased student visits to the library correlate with higher test
scores; 

.         hours of operation of the school library also have a positive
effect (the more open hours, the higher the test scores).

 

As the above is true, the reverse is also true, that students without access
to a well-stocked and staffed school library will do less well.  Children
with poor literacy skills are likely to become adults with poor literacy
skills, and the human toll and social costs of weak adult literacy are
well-known.  Any short-term savings realized by reduced spending on school
libraries will be more than offset by the future costs arising from
underemployment and poverty and their attendant problems, including poorer
health, lower levels of education in the children born to these
circumstances, and greater reliance on social welfare and healthcare
programs.

 

Rather than closing school libraries in your region (and to say that the
libraries will remain open without staff, as your superintendent has done,
is disingenuous), we strongly urge the Board to make a renewed and long-term
commitment to school libraries, to the benefit of the students themselves,
and to society as a whole.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

 

 

Jocelyne Thompson

President