Dear Hon. Abbott,
Is making British Columbia the most literate place in the world a current government priority? I'm getting mixed messages. In this letter, I hope to articulate my bewilderment.
What I do know is that if the school library has adequate teacher-librarian and clerical/technical staffing and is well supplied with information and communication technologies, then the school library program increases students' opportunities to become information literate. (Canadian Association for School Libraries, CASL 2003)
What I do know is school libraries are active learning environments. Under the leadership of a teacher-librarian, working in collaboration with classroom teachers, students develop and practise the information literacy skills and habits of lifelong learners. (CASL, 2003)
What I do know is students with well-equipped school libraries and qualified teacher librarians perform better on achievement tests for reading comprehension and basic research skills. (CASL, 2003.)
What I do know is that although there are more than twenty years of research to support the notion that teacher-librarians affect student achievement, this information is almost unknown outside the school library community. (The Colorado Study, 1993, 2000, 2010)
What I do know is the school library is essential to every long-term strategy for literacy, education, information provision and economic, social and cultural development. As the responsibility of local, regional and national authorities, it must be supported by specific legislation and policies. School libraries must have adequate and sustained funding for trained staff, materials, technologies and facilities." (UNESCO, 1999)
At odds with this unequivocal research is that funding for school libraries across this province remains abysmal. On every count, this province has been falling and continues to fall far below the minimum standards set out by the Canadian Association for School Libraries. (CASL, 2003.)
I have been a teacher since 1983 and a teacher librarian for over ten years, and I feel that it is imperative that I let this government know that their policies and funding formulas not only contravene with research, they jeopardize the literacy success of my students.
With sincere regret, I can not accept this book given by a government that refuses to adequately fund school libraries.No teacher-librarians = No [school] libraries = No books = Illiterate British Columbians.
Our libraries are a great investment in community, learning and literacy. They open doors of opportunity for minds hungry for knowledge and adventure. They are the front lines of the effort to make British Columbia the most literate place in the world. - Premier Gordon Campbell
At the moment that we persuade a child, any child, to cross that threshold, that magic threshold into a library, we change their lives forever, for the better. It’s an enormous force for good. - Barack Obama