Keep Quality School Libraries Open in Oakland!

Keep Quality School Libraries Open in Oakland!

We are a group of Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) library staff, reaching out to you as allies to keep our libraries funded in alignment with the District’s Mission to eliminate inequity. We are deeply concerned that the new proposal for distributing Measure G library funds will completely roll back the improvements and gains made since 2016.

It doesn’t surprise us that “an overwhelming majority - 82% of principals would like to return to the per-pupil funding.” This is because library funding is currently spent deeply on a few libraries. Approximately only 18% of libraries in the district are ...

We are a group of Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) library staff, reaching out to you as allies to keep our libraries funded in alignment with the District’s Mission to eliminate inequity. We are deeply concerned that the new proposal for distributing Measure G library funds will completely roll back the improvements and gains made since 2016.

It doesn’t surprise us that “an overwhelming majority - 82% of principals would like to return to the per-pupil funding.” This is because library funding is currently spent deeply on a few libraries. Approximately only 18% of libraries in the district are actually seeing a positive impact from the current funding model. That is why 82% want more. As well they should. Every library in OUSD should be given enough funding to be successful. $20,000 is not enough to fund a library. Let’s take a stand for quality, as we continue to work towards a goal of 100% of our school sites having high-quality library programs.

Unfortunately, adopting a flat-rate per site funding model will not give the sites more. It will give everyone less by destabilizing the library system across the district.

Over the past 2 years equitable, targeted distribution of Measure G funds has been a success! OUSD now has more high quality libraries run by professional library staff, which brings us closer in alignment to California State Standards and Ed Code.

The impact of the funding model slated for 2019-20 would be especially harmful because our most vulnerable students stand to lose the most. There is significant research to show that “the benefits associated with good library programs are strongest for the most vulnerable and at-risk learners, including students of color, low income students, and students with disabilities.” Libraries in flatland neighborhoods are the most likely to face closures or drastic cutbacks. Schools that cannot draw on community resources such as PTA fundraising will not be able to supplement their reduced Measure G allocation.

We believe it is critical to keep Measure G library funding under the purview of the person who has the best grasp of the big picture of equity and growth for our school libraries - the District Library Manager.

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