Sunday, February 28, 2010

CLSA NS Workshop in Berkeley

Several California School Library Association Northern Section board members leaving Books, Inc. after a successful board meeting --and some productive shopping!
Pictured are: Region III rep, Eric Wheeler and past president, Margaret Baker from the Central Valley and secretary, Becca Todd who made arrangements for a very successful workshop and meeting at the Books, Inc. bookstore on 4th Street In Berkeley on Saturday, February 27.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

School Library Advocacy in Action

Professor Alice Yucht, in a blog entry today on Alice in InfoLand, says that we need to activate before we advocate. I couldn't agree more.

I was at an "educational summit" today with Jackie Siminitus, CSLA's advocate extraordinaire, where high school and middle students from all over Northern California were scoping out the possibilities for college and beyond. In this picture the badges we are wearing say "Change Agent."

It was a great opportunity to ask them about their school library experiences and ask them and their parents for support for school libraries as the crunch becomes stronger and stronger here in California. Many recounted positive experiences about their school libraries but some have already seen the results of budget cutbacks which adds up to hours lost for their school libraries and reduced availability of a teacher librarian at the site.

We gave them a sheet of information about how school libraries make a difference and encouraged them to write letters to their school newspapers and their local community newspapers, to appear before school boards, to write their legislators and more. We also handed out CSLA's "Best Sellers" campaign information sheet and encouraged them to become library advocates.
Many seemed eager to help other schools have what their own schools benefit from, strong school libraries, and others were ready to become champions for their own benefit to get a strong school library program back at their school site.

It was a very exciting and pro-active day for both Jackie and me.

In her email announcing the blog post Alice said the following: "It's time to stop asking what our Associations are doing FOR us, and make ACTION a part of our own daily activities."

I agree with this as well BUT I also think that if our local and national associations aren't helping in us in every way possible to get our message out there they aren't doing the job we pay our dues to support. As Alice states in her blog we librarians are often not very good at advocating for ourselves. But if we aren't doing the things that make our libraries valuable, exciting, interesting places for our students and staff to be then it's no wonder we are at the end of line when push come to shove and decisions are made about our jobs and our programs. Don't whine, do. But tell your associations when and how you need help. There's nothing wrong with expecting our professional organizations to be at the forefront of advocacy but if we aren't providing the services and programs which prove we are worth it there's very little our associations can do to remedy that.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Do educators need a tea party?

Read my comment to Joyce Valenza's posting.

Do educators need a tea party?: "I can feel the grass roots growing. But they need a little water, or perhaps, some tea. Daily, my email box and my Twitter stream fill with..."

Maybe you'd like to join my armband wearing to mourn the loss of school librarians and school libraries across the state, including Marin County where there are only a handful of school librarians left in elementary school and a few at middle and high schools.

What do think? Do you think the loss of school library programs is just the price we pay for recession. What do you know about your local school library? What have you done to support school libraries in your community and elsewhere?

February is Love Your Library Month but we need to do a lot more than loving our libraries--we need to get out there and fight for our libraries!

Did you know that in President Obama's proposed budget, he does away with separate funding for the Increasing Literacy through School Libraries program. This after declaring last October Information Literacy Month for the first time ever! Where does he think kids are going to learn info lit skills except with the help of their school librarian? He has also did not mention public libraries in his jobs creation program even though public libraries are the place many people go to find information about jobs and job training when time get tough like they currently are.

Shame on you, President Obama. We're waiting for leadership in specific and measurable ways and you, instead, take away or gut proven programs.

Yes, I am in mourning and yes, I still love my library.

I certainly hope you do, too.

How can you help? Write policy makers, including the President, our Congresswoman (Woolsey), our Senators (Boxer | Feinstein) on the Jobs for Main Street Act, and state politicians (Leno | Huffman) to demand support for school and public libraries.

Monday, February 1, 2010

President's Budget Reduces School Library Funding

In response to a press release submitted by The American Association of School Librarians and reported on  the AASL blog I posted the following comment:

If the Administration had, as Stephen Krashen has suggested, budgeted funding for a well-staffed, well-stocked library in every school in the country it would have more of an impact than any of the “scientifically” vetted programs promoted by Race To The Top. And it would cost a lot less.

It’s already been demonstrated, over and over again, the positive impact school libraries make in student achievement. The President’s budget will never be passed as is (it never is). Nevertheless, I appreciate [AASL President] Cassandra [Barnett]’s message to the President. But each of us [school library supporters] also needs to contact our local Congress member and make sure they are aware of the research and the difference school libraries could make–and we must also ensure that each of us is doing the best job [as school librarians] we can, wherever we are.

From the blog post:
"In January 2009, the Department of Education released the Second Evaluation of the Improving Literacy Through School Libraries Program, which indicated that students attending schools participating in this program are performing higher on state reading tests than students in schools that do not take part in the program. Additionally, the study stated that in schools that participated in the program in 2003-04, the percentage of students who met or exceeded the proficiency requirements on state reading assessments increased by an extra 2.7 percentage points over the increase observed among nonparticipating schools during the same time period."