Don't Shelve EPISD Librarians

Don't Shelve EPISD Librarians

In the El Paso Independent School District, only 44% of students in grade 3-12 are reading at, or above, grade level. This disheartening crisis in our school district will only be aggravated with the school board’s $920,000 potential cuts to school library funding through a realignment.

To be an EPISD librarian you must have two years of classroom teaching experience, a Master’s Degree in Library Science, and a Learning Resources endorsement. Librarians are highly qualified teachers who have pursued additional training especially focused on literacy and information. Most of them sought librarianship because they are people who ...

In the El Paso Independent School District, only 44% of students in grade 3-12 are reading at, or above, grade level. This disheartening crisis in our school district will only be aggravated with the school board’s $920,000 potential cuts to school library funding through a realignment.

To be an EPISD librarian you must have two years of classroom teaching experience, a Master’s Degree in Library Science, and a Learning Resources endorsement. Librarians are highly qualified teachers who have pursued additional training especially focused on literacy and information. Most of them sought librarianship because they are people who feel compelled by a calling; by the sheer, driving force of a crazy love for books and the literacy of our students.

A copious body of current research shows that quality school libraries build literacy. Obviously, this board understands that.  Since 2014 the board has provided over $4 million in capital outlay to replace old books, and almost a million dollars was allocated this year to replacing our sorely outdated circulation system. But new books and programs won’t improve matters if libraries are understaffed.

As you consider a realignment, please be guided by board policy EFB Legal which says, “the district shall consider the standards established by School Library Programs: Standards and Guidelines for Texas in developing and implementing library services.” According to those guidelines most EPISD schools currently have proficient staffing levels, but that assessment will drop at each high school and consolidated k-8 campus that loses a librarian. After such a realignment, impacted campuses will have %50 less library service. The School Library Program Standards identify a library that serves more than 500 students with only a single librarian as “developing” or “needing improvement.” How can we help our students become distinguished and accomplished readers if our libraries are not staffed proficiently?

Spending on librarians provides highly qualified, specially trained, outrageously enthusiastic literacy TEACHERS, who provide direct literacy and technology instruction at the point of need to thousands of EPISD students every day.

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