“Two school libraries, shuttered last month due to budget cuts, will reopen Tuesday after a donation from an anonymous donor. As The Inquirer reported last month, Central High and Masterman, two of the city’s most prestigious schools, closed their libraries because the district did not fund librarians. Principals of the two schools, magnets that take in top students from across the city, lamented the closures, and said the budget cuts had taken aim at the very heart of their institutions.” (via Philadelphia Inquirer)
“Community, education and political leaders gathered Monday at Arlington Elementary/Middle School to celebrate a partnership that is providing thousands of city students new libraries — an effort that could eventually transform learning spaces at two dozen schools. Arlington and the Historic Samuel Coleridge-Taylor Elementary are the fourth and fifth schools to get newly renovated libraries built by the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation. The organization had pledged $5 million to build new libraries in high-poverty schools by 2015, but on Monday said it would double that contribution and bring improvements to 24 schools.” (via baltimoresun.com)
“When Central High School opened its new library in 2005 – a $4.5 million research and media hub funded by alumni – Apple named it a national model. Students visited it more than 147,000 times last year, more than 800 visits a day. Masterman School’s library, also bolstered by fund-raising, bustled with students, too, from early morning till late afternoon.” (via Philadelphia Inquirer)
“The capital city’s public school district started classes Monday without any staffing for their libraries. Officials say they plan to engage volunteers trained to check out and organize books and other materials. Reductions in library staff beginning two years ago already have limited access to the facilities for students. While some students didn’t seem to care because they don’t use them, others cited frustration Monday over their inability to freely use the computers and study space afforded by the facilities.” (via PennLive.com)
“Without question, the Internet has changed the way we think and learn, and will continue to do so as our technology evolves. In particular, the ability to access enormous amounts of information at any time from almost any place is forcing schools to redefine the idea of a classroom and the way we approach teaching. It is also reshaping the notion of school library services — what libraries look like and how they and librarians best serve schools. Increasingly, we hear the questions: “Are libraries necessary today? Isn’t everything on the Internet? Can’t we use the library space for better purposes?” We read about prominent independent schools that have chosen to eliminate most or all of their print collections in favor of digital resources. Other schools have replaced trained librarians with technologists who are expert at connecting students with digital tools and websites, but not at maintaining and expanding the carefully curated and already owned print and digital collections. Some independent school librarians are being asked to dramatically weed their print collections to accommodate a move to a space smaller by half or more. More than a few school leaders see this as a good time to cut library funding in order to save money in the overall budget.” (via NAIS)
“The last time a student at Archbishop Wood High School borrowed Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn was 1997. Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island has fared even worse: No student has checked out the adventure novel since 1991. It could be they are simply dated and unappealing to today’s high school students, or it could be because they are, well, books in an age of proliferating digital information. Either way, these titles may not be on Archbishop Wood’s shelves much longer: By the end of the school year, the number of volumes in the school’s library will be whittled from 47,000 to about 1,000 to make room for a new bank of computers, projection equipment, and collaborative space.”
via The Inquirer
“We all know that the more you read the more fluent you become, which in turn leads not only to increased literacy skills but also to improved attainment in all subjects. But, it seems, proof and evidence of this impact has eluded the reading profession for many years. This may be the reason why school libraries have been on the decline, with schools favouring to focus their energies on areas that can display this elusive impact. At Monk’s Walk School, Hertfordshire, we’ve worked on this area, knowing there must be some way a library can show the impact it has on literacy development. If this value and impact can be seen, not only does this move a library alongside other departments in a school but it may also go some way to holding back the decline of this vital resource.”
“When Sue Reinaman became Northern High School librarian 18 years ago, there were CD-ROMs and a card catalog in drawers, with the beginning of digital resources.
Today, her library has seven online databases, with the budget shifting toward buying more digital resources, including e-books. Still, she said the emphasis is the same. “It’s always been about teaching them how to find and use information efficiently and ethically,” Reinaman said, except in a different format.”
“The kids are back, but the media center at one of California’s largest high schools is quiet, even for a library. That’s because the 4,000 students at James Logan High School in Union City are starting the school year without access to the aisles of books and computers sitting in a darkened room, unused.
“Due to budget cuts, the library is closed,” read printed signs on the library doors. Carla Colburn, the school librarian for eight years and a teacher for 26, is the only person who goes in there now. For one period each day, she goes to the library and prepares book carts for English-language-learner classrooms or history classes working on research projects.”
NYTimes – “In the last three years, TNS has cut its Reading Recovery program, lost its assistant principal and its half-time math and literacy coaches and increased class size in every grade. The school learned this past April that it could no longer afford its library or librarian. Forty percent of TNS students qualify for free lunch, and the school pays for that diversity in an unexpected way: it’s far more difficult to raise large sums of money from its families. But the school still does not qualify for the federal Title 1 financing allocated to schools serving large percentages of low-income children. It is the public school version of the marriage penalty: diversity is largely considered a social good, but those who practice it are expected to pay, one way or another.”