Tuesday, February 1, 2011

My Letter to the Texas Legislature

In these times of budget shortfall, it is reasonable to expect cuts to State services. However, it is another thing to cut so severely that it stymies progress on matters vital to the State's future. No one disputes that a first rate public education system is critical to our economy and our people, but progress in public education depends on vital people such as school librarians.

Cutting libraries and librarians during this budget crisis would be a huge mistake for countless reasons, but mostly it is about the librarians and the role in they play in school improvement and student outcomes.

Many studies conducted in States around the USA show a clear correlation between library funding and staffing and student achievement. Behind those numbers are talented, dedicated professionals that involve themselves in all aspects of the school including: staff development, classroom instruction and innovative programs that encourage student creativity and personal growth. Without librarians, classroom teachers would lack valuable partners that help them incorporate technology and critical thinking skills into their loaded curriculum.

I urge the Texas Legislature to avoid short-sighted budget cuts that will only hamper efforts to improve schools in the long run. Librarians are creative and resourceful. They can do more with less, but not without any support from the State. Please help assure a brighter future in public education by funding school library positions and resources as much as practically possible.


  1. Great job- I would only elaborate on the expectations for graduates and how secondary librarians assist students in becoming ready to meet those expectations. It's stunning Austin threw them under the bus citing "literacy components" in keeping elementary librarians. Apparently it only matters for 3-5 grade taks to be literate?

  2. While I'm horrified about the news bombarding the listservs and newspapers about staff cuts, the State Legislature is proposing only to reduce funding to schools; it/"they" are not proposing to reduce the staffing levels of libraries. Districts are the entities doing that evil deed. The Legislature has outlined cuts to programs such as the Technology Allotment and the Texas State Library. I believe cuts to programs that have an effect on library programming and, thus, have an effect of our task of helping students and parents acquire information should be the focus of any communication to a Legislator/Legislature.

  3. Sharon, I thought of that, and that's right. With the types of cuts trickling down to school districts, the chances of cuts to libraries get perilously high. I wasn't sure if I wanted to advocate mandatory standards for certified librarian on each high school campus, or earmarked funds for librarians.

    Marie, Thanks for that addition. I'll try to work it in. I do think the more specific we are in describing our roll, the better we would do at the local level. Maybe schoolboards should be target of this communication?