Dear APLA Members,
I am forwarding this response, with permission and for information, from Premier Dexter of Nova Scotia regarding our letter opposing cuts to school libraries in the Chignecto-Central Regional School Board district. Two additional letters were sent regarding cuts in other school districts to which I have not yet received acknowledgement, but I assume the responses, if and when they come, will be similar to the substance of this letter.
Updates on the situation are welcome from any of our members closer to this issue, either posted to this list or forwarded to any member of the Executive.
From: [log in to unmask] [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
Sent: May-15-12 11:12 AM
To: Thompson, Jocelyne
Subject: Re: Open letter to the Premier of Nova Scotia opposing cuts to school libraries
Good morning Ms. Thompson:
Please find attached Premier Dexter's response to your e-mail of April 15, 2012.
Office of the Premier
Province of Nova Scotia
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>>> "Jocelyne Thompson" <[log in to unmask]> 4/15/2012 3:25 PM >>>
Please note, signed original will follow in the mail.
Atlantic Provinces Library Association
School of Information Management
Faculty of Management - Kenneth C. Rowe Management Building
6100 University Ave., Halifax, Nova Scotia
Premier Darrell Dexter
Office of the Premier
P.O. Box 726
Halifax, Nova Scotia B3J 2T3
April 16, 2012
Open letter to the Premier of Nova Scotia opposing cuts to school libraries
Dear Premier Dexter:
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 the Chignecto-Central Regional School Board district which would, if implemented, affect more than 40 FTE library professionals, and impoverish the educational experience for thousands of students. Your Government's intervention in this case was a welcome response although the outcome of the review that has been mandated is uncertain. In the circumstances, it is our wish, and indeed our responsibility, to remind the Government 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 absolutely 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.
APLA would urge the Government of Nova Scotia to make a renewed and long-term commitment to school libraries by providing the funding necessary to support them, to the benefit of students and society as a whole.