Earlier this year, a committee of Vermont’s Board of Education quietly revised the State Education Quality Standards to remove the words “library” and “library program,” despite recommendations from the Vermont School Library Association (VSLA). The VSLA has been working tirelessly ever since to get library-specific language reinstated before the board rules in December.
Woodrow Wilson Elementary was contemplating ways to raise funds for more iPads for students. Certain options were out of the question—asking kids to sell stuff that no one wanted, or using a fundraising company that would give participants cheap prizes. We wanted a new approach, and the iPad Film Festival was born.
Shelly Ripplinger watched last year as her job disappeared in Utah’s Ogden School District—fired along with 19 of her fellow school librarians. But after push-back from colleagues, parents, and advocates, one-time money has now funded seven district librarian positions, including hers. They travel to schools as mobile co-teachers, while clerks man school libraries.
Nancy Robertson is not a school librarian—but as Michigan’s State Librarian, she believes strongly in the role of certified media specialists in student success. That’s why she has worked for the last five years on a benchmarking program called SL21 to help the state’s school librarians raise their programs to exemplary status.
Junior Library Guild has created a new online program to assist school and public libraries in their fundraising programs. Love Our Library, which launched this month, allows librarians to quickly set up their own pages that can be used to collect direct donations and to promote fundraising events. The initiative also offers free downloadable, print-ready marketing materials for libraries’ fundraising.
School librarians are currently an endangered species in Houston—and the future doesn’t look very bright. Decisions in the district on librarian staffing levels are left to the principals, with no mandates at the district level for certified media specialists in the schools. The result? A dramatic decline in the number of these professionals serving students in Houston, according to the Texas Education Agency.
Data from New York City’s Independent Budget Office, requested by the Alliance for Quality Education (AQE), exposes huge inequities in the distribution of resources in New York City high schools. According to AQE’s analysis, black and Latino students are being denied opportunities available to many white and Asian students.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced Monday that he would expand the Chicago Public Library’s (CPL) YOUmedia digital skills program by $500,000 in order to serve 25 percent more teens in 2014. The program teaches web design, digital media production, and programming. The announcement comes just a week after the online expansion of CPL’s homework help program.
New York City’s local teachers’ union, the United Federation of Teachers (UFT), is urging NY State Commissioner of Education Dr. John King to deny a recent request by the city’s Department of Education that the city’s public schools be exempted from state minimum staffing requirements for certified school library media specialists, the UFT tells School Library Journal. King has not yet issued a ruling on the matter.
The books come by the hundreds almost daily. Boxes dropped off from yoga clubs, suburban book drives, and schools to be handed out at the Mighty Writers Street Libraries—pop-up libraries recently launched in Philadelphia to offer books to the city’s students and parents who watch as their access to titles diminish.
The Education Library Networks Coalition—which includes the American Library Association and the International Society for Technology in Education—is calling on the Federal Communications Commission to double the funding for E-rate, according to EdLiNC’s co-chair Jon Bernstein. The coalition also asks that the E-rate program offer more “scalable” goals for local entities, with limited national mandates.
The American Library Association on Monday asked the Federal Communications Commission to accelerate the goals of E-rate, the program that provides discounted Internet access and telecommunications services to U.S. schools and libraries. ALA’s statement specifically calls for faster deployment of high-capacity broadband and new strategic investments in infrastructure, as well as program changes to save costs and streamline the process so that more schools and libraries can participate in the program.
The Texas State Library and Archives Commission (TSLAC) has awarded the Round Rock Public Library System a grant of $49,500 to build Innovation Station, an after-school maker space and program that aims to engage middle schoolers in project-based science, technology, engineering, mathematics, art and design activities. The grant is part of a total $1.6 million in awards that TSLAC is distributing in fiscal 2014 to Texas library programs.
Can a public library serve both school children and its other patrons at the same time? That question is being put to the test in Chicago this week as the Back of the Yards Library—a public branch meant to serve as a school library for the 9–12 grade students attending the new Back of the Yards High School next door—opens its doors.
Already hobbled, Philadelphia schools are facing their first day with fewer school librarians—continuing a trend in the metropolitan school district and the state of Pennsylvania as well. Of the approximately 22 remaining certified school librarians working in the Philadelphia school district, some are not returning to their school librarian positions.