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The Crisis in Canada’s School Libraries: The Case for Reform and Re-Investment

A Sampling Survey of Response to The Crisis in Canada’s School Libraries

October 17, 200517 October 2005

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The Crisis in Canada’s School Libraries makes the case that “an investment in school libraries and teacher-librarians provides the sorts of dividends that educators now seek from public school funding: better student achievement, improved literacy and reading skills, and enhanced readiness to succeed in a post-secondary environment”. Unfortunately, given the admitted lack of Canadian studies and data, it remains an open question as to whether (or which) US findings summarized in the report apply to the Canadian school context. The report’s gloomy picture of the state of Canadian students’ reading literacy is quite different from the very positive portrait of the reading skills of 15 year-old Canadian students presented in a recent Statistics Canada report .

The ACP report provides some examples of declining provincial support for teacher-librarians and library collections. The report states that Canadian publishers “have noticed reduced attention to Canadian books in schools, commensurate with the reduction in teacher-librarians”. (No reference is provided for this statement.)

The report makes recommendations of “‘best practice’ in terms of library programs and professional development”. Additional recommendations concern Canadian data-gathering and research efforts, provincial leadership, fostering reading and achievement, and more.

In early 2004, the Association of Canadian Publishers commissioned telephone interviews to solicit the responses of 28 school library and education community stakeholders to the original report. These interviews revealed unanimous support for the report’s findings. Interviewees also reported that some advocacy activities had taken place to promote schools libraries and teacher-librarians.

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