Thursday, April 29, 2010

Teacher librarian numbers in 'death spriral'

A Parliamentary Committee hearing in Hobart has been told there are just 29 qualified teacher librarians across Tasmania's 215 primary and secondary schools.
That figure is down from 109, 15 years ago.

Public education in jeopardy in Vancouver 2010 April 29

Out of the more than 69 teaching positions recommended for elimination, 21.2 are held by non-enrolling teachers. These include English-as-a-second-language teachers who work with children of immigrant families, and secondary-school counsellors who deal with students in distress.

Teacher librarians are also included in the 43 positions that may be cut. It is for this reason that Carrie Bercic and her daughter Sarah attended the rally. Bercic is the chair of the parent advisory council at Eric Hamber secondary school, where Sarah is in Grade 8.

School board stalls budget pending provincial review

On Tuesday, the district presented its revised preliminary budget proposal based on comments and lobbying from the public, staff, student and parent groups. The proposal reflects the additional $1.79 million from the adjusted budget shortfall, which dropped from $18.12 to $16.33 million. 

It reduced the proposed teacher cuts by 25.9 full-time equivalent positions. Most are under the non-enrolling teacher category, which includes librarians, counsellors, ESL and special education teachers. "This is still a management budget, our senior management recommendations to us based on feedback and some input from us," Bacchus explained.

School board votes to cut 10 days from school calendar

"I think we'll have to see how this unfolds. But it may mean that the school library will be able to stay open, or a special ed teacher will be there when a kid needs them."

School libraries in danger

We have taken for granted that a school library is a place to borrow books and to learn how to access information. In some schools in Chilliwack, and across the province, this will not be the case come September, if the provincial government has its way.

CLA Alarmed at BC Government’s Recent Cuts to Education Funding

CLA/CASL News: 2010 April 29

April 29, 2010, (Ottawa, ON) – The Canadian Library Association (CLA) and its school library division, the Canadian Association for School Libraries (CASL), has expressed dismay and alarm at the erosion of funding for education in British Columbia. This erosion is pushing districts into making cutbacks to personnel and programs to balance their budgets, resulting in the elimination of professional teacher-librarians in many schools in British Columbia. Teacher-librarians are those professional teachers who teach curriculum based information literacy skills to students at the elementary and secondary level.

Linda Shantz-Keresztes, President of CASL asks, “How can basic literacies and the essential new literacies of our digital world be achieved without qualified teacher-librarians in BC schools?”

Studies across North America for the last fifteen years have consistently demonstrated that students in schools with effective school library programs supported by teacher-librarians experience greater academic success than those in schools with no such programs and professional teaching.

In 2008 the Minister of Education in British Columbia stated at the Pan Canadian Literacy Forum in Vancouver that: “I am personally proud that British Columbia is the lead jurisdiction for literacy in our country.”

Parents in BC have to ask some hard questions. Do they want to abandon libraries and literacy programs in public schools, or do they urge the British Columbia government to recognize the importance of literacy education, school libraries and the essential role of teacher librarians in preparing B.C. students to be lifelong learners.

John Teskey, President of the CLA, urges the BC government to reconsider these cutbacks and to fund school library programs and hire qualified teacher librarians.

Minister's comment laughable

Prince George Citizen: 2010 April 29

I read with interest the education minister’s letter published on this page recently.

Amusingly, she characterized her letter as a clarification of an earlier letter and defended her government’s current funding of our public schools. As an exercise in political spin it was the same tired stuff parents have been hearing from a succession of ministers denying responsibility for their actions in degrading our schools.

Here is some advice to the minister. Given your government’s lack of credibility around your pre-election budget and the deceptive introduction of the HST no one is buying what you are spinning on the education front.

We see class size going up, services to kids being cut, librarians disappearing and you being misleading about your role in properly funding one of the most vital public services we can provide to our children.

A doctor such as yourself should remember your oath: first do no harm.

Joanne Hapke
Prince George

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

ALA | Rhode Island school librarian testifies before Senate committee

Jamie Greene, a school librarian at Hugh Cole Elementary School in Warren, RI, and president of the Rhode Island Educational Media Association (RIEMA), testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) today in a hearing titled, “ESEA Reauthorization: Meeting the Needs of the Whole Student.”


Monday, April 26, 2010

School library websites Part 1: a tour of high school practice

Here's what I believe:

A teacher librarian should be his or her school's instructional CIO. 

Especially as more of our schools move to one-to-one, a virtual library is an essential component of school library practice, and of a school's learning culture.

MPs to hear school library concerns

THE national supply of professional librarians in schools is diminishing and the concern will be raised in Sydney tomorrow at the first hearing of a national inquiry into how school libraries are staffed.

Federal Education Minister Julia Gillard has directed the House of Representatives committee on education and training to report on ''role, adequacy and resourcing'' of school libraries and teacher librarians in public and private schools.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

B.C. authors honoured in Victoria

Carrie Mac, who writes for teenagers and is also a paramedic, won the Sheila A. Egoff Children's Literature Prize for The Gryphon Project.

Dean Griffiths, Duncan-based illustrator of the picture book Maggie Can't Wait, accepted the Christie Harris Illustrated Children's Literature Prize for himself and author Frieda Wishinsky, who lives in Toronto.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Quebec school boards remove book over offensive French stereotypes

At least two school boards in Quebec say they are pulling from the shelves of primary school libraries a French book that describes Quebecers as poutine-eating square-dancers who like nothing better than to use religiously inspired swear words. The book, Kathryn, Sebastien et Virginie vivent au Canada (Kathryn, Sebastien and Virginie Live in Canada), is part of a series dedicated to instructing youngsters about how other children live elsewhere on the planet. "We're withdrawing [the books], but they could be the topic of a class lecture in which a teacher instructs students [about] how they have to be careful about stereotypes," said Jean-Francois Parent, spokesman for the Quebec City-area Premieres-Seigneuries School Board.

School Libraries are Invaluable

The sound you hear is the closing doors of school libraries around B.C. School libraries are the one resource available to every child in public schools. They are stocked with good books to entice children to read and resources that match the curriculum. These resources aren't just in print, but include online databases, such as encyclopedias.

In a good education system, these resources are bought and managed by a trained teacher-librarian who can guide students to the best books and the most accurate information.

The Internet is a wilderness full of wonderful and stupid information. Porn and pedophiles lurk around the corner. Students need to be taught how to find their way and how to judge the information they want to use.

Why are there no provincial standards any more? How long is your child's library going to be open next year? Who is running it -- a parent? A clerk? No one? I thought we were going to be the most literate place on Earth?

Val Hamilton, Vancouver

Friday, April 16, 2010

Well-stocked bookshelves give children learning edge

Parents wondering how far their children will go in school need only gaze into their home libraries.

In a groundbreaking study of more than 73,000 people in 27 nations, researchers found that children with at least 500 books -- whether Shakespeare or Seuss -- went an average 3.2 years further in school than kids in similar homes that had only a few books.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Freeze-n-Read 4 Libraries... 4.17.10 @ 4pm everywhere

If you think so, too...
on Saturday, April 17th at 4:00pm!
Set your alarm now to Freeze wherever you are and chill with a good book in support of libraries!

Radical right-wingers ignore inconvenient facts as they try to rewrite American history

Vancouver Sun: 2010 April 15

This story illustrates just why we need libraries and librarians in our society.

The right is rewriting history.

The most ballyhooed effort is under way in Texas, where conservatives have pushed the state school board to rewrite guidelines, downplaying Thomas Jefferson in one high school course, playing up such conservatives as Phyllis Schlafly and the Heritage Foundation, and challenging the idea that the Founding Fathers wanted to separate church and state.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Eliminating school boards a good first step

Province: 2010 April 14

...But he said the new curriculum for the generation of "digital kids" is improving rapidly.

He pointed out there have been many studies showing that online learning is at least as effective as what's now in place. "And not only that, it really does allow kids to progress at their own rate," he said.

Player questioned why there needed to be so many school libraries...

Saturday, April 10, 2010



I have created this blog so we can share obituaries of B.C. teacher-librarians and those who have won our awards.  Please forward any that I might have missed, especially from community newspapers.

Val Hamilton

Thursday, April 8, 2010

BC teacher-librarians 'appalled' by cuts in Vancouver, Coquitlam :: The Hook

British Columbia's teacher-librarians were among the first groups to protest school board budget cuts in Vancouver and Coquitlam.

On the blog of Heather Daly, president of the BCTLA, a new post reported that "The B.C. Teacher-Librarians' Association is appalled at recent proposed budget recommendations made in Vancouver and Coquitlam

Thursday, April 1, 2010

State of the Art - David Pogue’s Review of the iPad

In 10 years of reviewing tech products for The New York Times, I’ve never seen a product as polarizing as Apple’s iPad, which arrives in stores on Saturday.