Last week at the Philadelphia Education Fund Breakfast, when Dr Hite was asked about libraries, he mentioned the idea of “quiet spaces” or perhaps even maker spaces and cafes for students. A quiet space is only one of the many functions a school library provides for students. I bet that everyone of you sitting up there attended a school with a school library staffed by a certified school librarian. I did. Every Philadelphia district school that I attended had a library built into its DNA. It was part of the deal we called school. It is behind belief that all of you would not insist that every school have a functioning library with a certified school librarian. It is beyond belief that this is not a funded item in every school budget so that principals are not forced to choose between a librarian or a nurse. It is beyond belief that every district surrounding our city has a school library built into its budget. So why does our district outsource the essential work of a certified school librarian to non profits who recruit well-intentioned volunteers to run these make shift areas? The message resonates clearly that our students do not deserve a certified school librarian.
Dr Hite is your legacy to be one of decimating school libraries with certified school librarians? It is clear that cost outweighs research in your decision making. Studies explicitly state how libraries positively impact student learning and achievement. Since you rely on data where is the data you are using that shows that school libraries are not beneficial to students?
Your thundering silence is another reason for the SRC to vote itself out of existence. NOW. You do not represent the interests of all of our students. Vote to dissolve yourselves.
Since all of you relish data, I have included data on how many schools actually had certified school librarians beginning in 1991 and how many exist as of last year.
Data compiled by the Association of Philadelphia School Librarians
CTLs in the SDP: Number of SDP schools
(Certified Teacher Librarians)
9/10 63 257
9/11 47.4 249
9/12 43 249
9/16 6 220