Massachusetts school officials restore librarian positions

by Public Libraries on January 24, 2014

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Swampscott High School and Swampscott Middle School is not going to be without great librarians through at least 2015.

The proposed school budget for 2014-15 is expected to include ample funding for librarians.

The funding will further propose adequate spending for library support positions at those libraries, the Interim Superintendent said this month.

Unfortunately, the middle school and high school have been without librarians since the school year started. The school district felt that they had to cut out the positions to meet the 2013-14 budget limitations.

A school without librarians is not much of a school, and that’s why there was such a big move on the part of concerned school officials and parents to make sure there was enough funding for librarians in this year’s budget plan.

The library cuts got severe criticism from concerned parents, students, and the Massachusetts School Library Association. School libraries play a huge role in students’ education.

Librarian positions at the Swampscott elementary school were cut many years prior.

The Internet Superintendent has been very vocal about his intention to restore the librarian positions in the district with a multi-year plan.

The Massachusetts Library Association President had a lot to say about the issue. She gave an interview to a local newspaper about the importance of librarians and school libraries, and she touched on a wide number of topics.

She said that school library programs that are staffed by professionals and adequately supported by school districts offer teachers and students with a lot of advantages and resources that can make a dramatic difference in learning, including the following:

  • A big collection of non-print (video, audio, and digital) and print materials that are meant specifically to lend support to the curriculum – so that the pupils who need enrichment, support, and help can get it.
  • A great collection of reading materials to make sure that pupils have tons of choices to make them want to read and become students for life.
  • An instructional partner for professors who can help to organize student learning experiences and research projects with an eye toward enhancing student abilities and interests, and a knowledge of how to provide rich learning experiences for students.
  • An instructional partner with a serious knowledge of the curriculum and instructional materials, and knowledge of the students and faculty, who can be a helpful addition to student learning experiences.

She also talked about how students could suffer without librarians around to fill the essential roles described above.

She said that there are a number of great research studies that show that schools with great library programs have a serious impact on student learning. There is a clear advantage for students who have school library programs.

She also talked about how librarian positions were more essential in today’s online education and learning environment, despite perceived irrelevance of librarians in this new learning environment.

Cutting school librarian positions caused a major uproar, but thankfully the situation has been remedied.

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