Philly Needs More School Librarians

School District of Philadelphia Board of Education Action Meeting

October 20, 2022

sung by Ilene Poses

On Oct. 18, 2022 Kristen Graham wrote that with community donations  John Story Jenks was able to reopen its school library.   There is however, no certified school librarian.   Superintendent Watlington is contacting the Free Library of Philadelphia to form a “partnership to fill the gaps” but the Free Library is so short staffed since the pandemic that there are no neighborhood libraries even open on the weekends and many have limited hours during the week.  The private school close by has three separate libraries with multiple librarians.  Nothing promotes literacy more than libraries with certified librarians so why, if we care about literacy, don’t we fund school librarians?  Don’t blame it on the principals because with too little funding they are making  hard choices .  Should we have music, art, a vice principal, a special ed. liaison, a safety and climate coordinator or a librarian??

 Debra Kachel is the project director  of “SLIDE: The School Librarian Investigation—Decline or Evolution?”

In analyzing  National Center for Education Statistics data from almost 13,000 school districts for the 2018–2019 school year, SLIDE revealed that three out of 10 districts had no librarians in any of their schools – always the poorer districts;   According to Kachel, “the gap between the have and have-not schools is getting wider and wider each year.”  Philadelphia has the worst ratio of librarians to schools –  4 to 216 !

Where and how you choose to spend the money matters.  Are you, the board, choosing to fund another consulting company, choosing to  hire  private companies for professional development rather than using in-house staff?  You, the board, are making these decisions, not the principals, for funding schools libraries with certified librarians.

Sing to “Marian – Madam Librarian”

Philly needs  – more School librarians

What can I do, school board, to catch your ear

We badly, sadly, madly need school librarians – it’s humanitarian           

Please do help us, for the children need  books to borrow

Building citizens for tomorrow 

Books take us places both near and far – o  – it’s humanitarian       

What can I say, school board to make it clear

We need you badly, gladly to fund librarians – it’s humanitarian

Stop the funding of all the  corporate consultants

This will make us all suddenly exultant

‘And Philly schools will have librarians – it’s humanitarian!