Reauthorize and update the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) to include a stand-alone school library program, consistent with S. 312, the Strengthening Kids’ Interest in Learning and Libraries Act, that would provide dedicated funding to support effective school library programs that are staffed by a state-certified or licensed school librarian; have up-to-date books, materials, equipment and technology; include regular collaboration between classroom teachers and school librarians; and support the development of digital literacy skills.
An effective school library program provides students with more than just books selected to hone readers’ developing skills and to instill a love of reading. While reading and books are mainstays of the school library program, today’s effective school library programs are also sophisticated learning environments that provide the education and necessary skills to succeed in college and the workplace.
Recent data available from the Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) highlight the lack of support for too many of our students in thousands of schools across the country. NCES data reveal that approximately8,830 public schools across the nation do not have a school library and for those schools that do have a library, nearly 17,000 schools do not have a full or part-time state-certified school librarian on staff.
Research repeatedly shows that a well-funded and fully staffed school library with a State-certified school librarian is an integral component of a student’s education. Across the United States, studies have demonstrated that students in schools with effective school library programs learn more, get better grades, and score higher on standardized teststhan their peers in schools without such resources.
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