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NCTE Position Statement

Resolution on Supporting School and Community Libraries

2005 NCTE Annual Business Meeting in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Background

An educated, information-literate citizenry is the foundation of our democratic society. Our students must be equipped to meet 21st-century challenges with the ability to access, use, and evaluate information competently.

Resource-rich school libraries and credentialed school librarians play key roles in promoting information literacy. They help students acquire critical thinking skills and increase their global awareness. Educational research demonstrates that the services of professional school librarians, well-funded collections, and rich digital resources enhance student achievement. These research studies show that, when classroom teachers collaborate with full-time, credentialed school librarians to design, implement, and assess instruction, student achievement increases significantly (see the Library Research Service Web site at http://www.lrs.org/impact.asp). At the same time, however, there has been a decrease in library expenditures per pupil since 1985 (see Fifty Years of Supporting Children’s Learning: A History of Public School Libraries and Federal Legislation from 1953 to 2000 at http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2005/2005311.pdf).

We recognize that all students need access to school and community libraries that provide 1) full-time, credentialed professionals; 2) access to multimodal resources that reflect multiple perspectives; and 3) opportunities for classroom teachers and school librarians to collaborate.

Resolution

Given the decrease in school library funding since 1985 and the need for strong literacy and library programs that lead to students’ overall academic success, be it resolved that the National Council of Teachers of English

  • strengthen its support of the American Library Association and the American Association of School Librarians by urging legislators and school officials to provide funding for full-time, credentialed librarians in every elementary and secondary school;
  • urge governors, chief state school officers, state legislators, and local governments to increase funding for books, online resources, and multimodal materials;
  • promote policies that ensure access to library resources for all learners;
  • support professional development opportunities for school librarians and classroom teachers consistent with local, state, and national standards; and
  • encourage collaboration between classroom teachers and school librarians to enrich student learning.

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