Canadian School Librarians and Libraries under siege
OTTAWA, June 7, 2011 /CNW/ - In recent weeks, there has been extensive media coverage, on the declining number of teacher-librarians in Canada, beginning with the announcement of eliminating school library staffing and making serious cuts to school library services and resources in the Windsor-Essex Catholic District School Board in Ontario. The Canadian Library Association (CLA) has been monitoring these developments, and is concerned about the status of teacher-librarians across the country.
A teacher-librarian is an accredited teacher with additional
qualifications in librarianship, with those added skills focussed on
expertise in digital (computer) information.
|"The cost of losing the instructional role of the teacher-librarian is high. Decades of research have given evidence of the positive impact of the school library and the teacher-librarian on student achievement. While in parts of Canada we are cutting back on school libraries and teacher-librarians, they are being supported in parts of Europe as a force for educational reform, for improving reading education as well as information literacy."|
|Dianne Oberg, Professor of Education, University of Alberta.|
|"School library staffing is more critical now than before the internet arrived because of the volume of information, but also because of its complexity. Canadian students deserve the best education we can provide. This demands the instructional expertise to guide students in the effective use of online resources that is provided by a qualified teacher-librarian."|
|Linda Shantz-Keresztes, Moderator of CLA's Voices for School Libraries Network|
While education remains a provincial jurisdiction, the issues around literacy are of national concern. The reductions to school libraries and their staffing that sparked the current media attention are occurring across Canada, and in some school districts no professional staffing exists. Within the past few weeks, several teacher-librarian positions have been eliminated in British Columbia. Since the 1980s Manitoba has lost approximately 60% of its teacher-librarians. As opposed to the former level of twenty school divisions with teacher-librarians, there are now only six.
The proposed cuts to library and qualified instructional services to elementary and secondary students in Canada, and the strong reaction to these cuts was the focus of discussion by attendees at the CLA National Conference held May 25-28 in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
The Canadian Library Association is Canada's largest national and broad-based library association, representing the interests of public, academic, school and special libraries, librarians, library workers, library trustees and all those concerned about enhancing the quality of life of Canadians through information and literacy. Comprehensive information about CLA and its programs and services is available on the CLA web site: www.cla.ca.For further information:
Media Contact: Judy Green, (613) 232-9625 ext 322 or firstname.lastname@example.org