Friday, April 18, 2014

Our Library Ecosystem Is Under Threat
HuffingtonPost: 4.16.2014 by Barbara K. Stripling - President, American Library Association (ALA)

The sounds of libraries today reveal the impact of libraries throughout our lives -- from the excited giggles of toddlers in storytimes to the "aha's!" of young people engaged in inquiry to the quiet conversations of senior citizens discovering new authors and using computers to research. All types of libraries -- school, public, and academic -- form a library ecosystem that provides and supports lifelong learning.

For example school librarians teach children the 21st-century skills they need to build knowledge, create and share their own ideas, successfully complete their high school education, and prepare themselves for college and career. Academic librarians enable students to complete their college degrees, building on the skills taught by school librarians, and support academic research and scholarship. Public librarians extend the work of school and academic librarians by providing homework help, literacy resources, and after-school and summer programming. Public librarians take up the mantle of support for lifelong learning by providing resources, services, and programs tailored to meet the needs, interests and aspirations of all of their community members.

Under this view of a library ecosystem, all types of libraries work together to deliver learning opportunities for people of all ages. However, a threat to one part of the system stresses the entire system.

At this moment we are facing a serious threat to school libraries, and thus to the entire library ecosystem.

Data from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) show that there is a positive correlation between cuts to school library staff and lower reading scores, whereas states that gained school librarians saw an increase in reading scores.  [*see article below]

As the nation celebrates National Library Week, April 13 - 19, and School Library Month this April, we cannot forget the valuable role all of our nation's libraries play in transforming lives through education and lifelong learning. The American Library Association (ALA) asks that you show your support and stand up for our nation's libraries by signing the ALA's Declaration for the Right to Libraries.

We all deserve the right to libraries and must understand that, when one part of the ecosystem is under threat, we all pay the price. READ MORE !

*Something to Shout About: New research shows that more librarians means higher reading scores
School Library Journal: 9.01.2011 by Keith Curry Lance and Linda Hofschire

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