We are writing to express our deep concern with the reduction of hours for librarians within the Strait regional centre for education.
Based on the findings of both the Glaze Report and the Report on Inclusive Education, the hours of librarians should not only be reinstated, but increased.
With provincial initiatives to move towards Inquiry Learning, dependence on our libraries and librarians will increase significantly. As students engage in their own interest-led research, it is the librarian who will steer them in the direction of resources to support their questions. In our experience, the librarian works alongside the teacher to provide assistance for students to learn the skills of researching, and to learn how and where to find the information they seek. It is the librarian who knows what is available and who can skillfully link resources at an appropriate reading level for the individual student.
We are truly blessed at Whycocomagh Education Centre to have a librarian who seeks to know each student individually. She knows the reading abilities of all children within the school and she seeks to engage in conversation in order to determine the genuine interests of the student. Through this, she matches students with books that they can feel a connection to and therefore develop the seed of a life-long love of reading and knowledge. Students who have had other literacy supports within the school find their true success when the librarian guides them to a book that speaks to them and that brings enjoyment.
The library provides a special, quiet place for students who need to regain their sense of wellness within the school. It provides a place of solace, intellectual stimulation, entertainment, information and organization. It meets the needs of all students. Those who are struggling learners can find something truly of interest that is at an accessible reading level for them. Those who are exceptional readers can find a source of inspiration and stimulation to nurture their interests.
It is a dangerous myth that librarians sit at their computers waiting for the next student to come in, or a book to come in to be shelved. Our librarian strives to be as flexible as possible with her time to help support both teachers and students as much as possible.
Each day in the library is different, and our school librarian works to: provide exceptional organization of our Library’s resources; collaborate with teachers to support their teaching; manage, maintain and coordinate technology; support students’ research; support the development of reading both at school and at home; build connections with students and their parents; host book fairs for both the school and the larger community; and create bulletin boards in our school’s hallways that celebrate and inform.
In short, she is an essential member of the school staff and an essential thread in the learning of our students on a day-by-day, moment-by-moment basis. She is absolutely necessary and we would ask that her time is increased, rather than decreased.
Students consider going to the library a treat or reward. A library coupon to celebrate classroom accomplishments is a sought-after choice. Parents consider the librarian a necessary part of their child’s literacy education. Teachers consider the librarian as a supportive and essential colleague to help their students in ways they are not able to.
In closing, we ask that you reconsider the decision to reduce librarians’ hours. In efforts to create the most nurturing, positive and inclusive learning environments for our students we ask that you reinstate librarian’s hours and consider an increase in time where possible.
Whycocomagh Education Centre
School Advisory Committee