More than a dozen New York City Council members, the presidents of New York’s three library systems, and several hundred librarians, library staff, supporters, advocates, and children from nearby schools rallied on the steps of city hall to protest $106 million in proposed funding cuts. Council members Jimmy Van Bramer and Vincent J. Gentile also pledged to introduce legislation that would create a baseline of stable funding for the city’s public library services.
The Los Angeles Unified School District avoided additional cuts to educators and support personnel for the first time in five years, saving 208 mental health counselors, librarians, library aides and social worker positions, and is instead allocating $50 million to tablets, laptops, and other technology tools.
An estimated 6,000 to 10,000 educators, parents, and students converged on the Texas State Capitol on Saturday, February 23, for the second annual “Save Our Schools” march and rally .The event pulls together a variety of participants seeking to urge the state’s legislature to fully fund education in the state.
Want to strengthen your relationship with the local school board? Or maybe you just need to start one with them? Then the place to go is San Diego, CA, for the 73rd annual conference of the National School Boards Association. Along with educational workshops covering everything from evaluating the superintendent to safety and security, attendees will be treated to keynote addresses from actress Geena Davis, science advocate Neil deGrasse Tyson, and Diane Ravitch, a professor of education at New York University.
If your secondary school is in the U.S., has a minimum of 40 percent of students qualifying for free or reduced lunches, and has at least five senior classes, you could be eligible to apply for the annual College Board Gaston Caperton Inspiration Award. This is no small prize—three winning schools each receive $25,000, and an additional five could receive $1,000 honorable mention awards.
The public library is an information center providing resources that the community needs and wants. To know exactly what the community needs and wants the library relies on comment cards, conducts online surveys, and closely follows local issues and trends. But what if there are no customers to poll, no users for librarians to have a discussion with? This is exactly the situation that my library system is currently facing, because we are building a library where there has never been one (for many, many miles) and therefore there are no statistics, surveys, or discussions to base our collection, preliminary programming, or resource needs.
School librarians across the Atlantic are feeling the squeeze, too. A recent study by the U.K.’s School Library Association shows that budgets there have taken a hit, with 34 percent of media specialists reporting smaller budgets this year compared to 2011. Meanwhile, only 18 percent say they’ve seen an increase since last year.
Numbers can be telling, and the story here presents a stark reality that signals an ideal opportunity to foster a stronger relationship between public and school libraries in ways that better support how kids learn and grow.
The results of SLJ’s first survey of public library spending habits on children’s and young adult services reveals a disturbing trend: only 30 percent of respondents say their library collaborates with local schools to coordinate book purchases to support the curriculum—leaving 70 percent that don’t.
Looking back at the last four years of technology innovation, much has changed, including the revolutionary release of the very first iPhone in July 2008 and the iPad less than two years later. Even so, some of NCES’s numbers, though dated, seem quite positive: 100 percent of public schools had one or more instructional computers hooked up to the Internet, and 58 percent had carts with laptops.