With just a few months left in this school year, Atlanta Public Schools (APS) are eliminating at least 14 school librarian positions across the city next school year. Several schools are reducing their school library staffing to a part-time school certified librarian while others are replacing them with paraprofessionals. The Georgia Library Media Association is calling on members of the School Board and Superintendent Carstarphen to review and reverse this decision. Eliminating school librarians from Atlanta schools would negatively affect reading and test scores, and student achievement across our city.
Cutting certified school librarians essentially eliminates the school library program and relegates the library space to a repository of materials. Effective school library programs that are run by certified school librarians have been shown to have a positive impact on student achievement, specifically for language arts and writing. They are essential for helping students prepare for college and/or the workforce by teaching critical thinking, information literacy, and technology literacy skills. Students in Atlanta Public Schools need the instructional support and dedicated time they get from their certified school librarians in order to succeed – both academically and personally.
The Georgia Library Media Association (GLMA), the statewide organization of school librarians, and EveryLibrary, a national library advocacy organization, are partnering for a joint campaign focused on restoring school librarian positions in APS. GLMA has written the Board of Education and Superintendent Carstarphen to express our fears that these cuts will affect student achievement (Letter to Atlanta Public Schools).
EveryLibrary has launched an online petition for parents, residents, and other stakeholders to voice their concerns directly with the Board of Education and senior APS staff at http://www.saveschoollibrarians.org/atlantaschoollibrarians.
We are encouraging all Georgians to take action and let APS administrators and school board know that the actions of these schools will prevent students from having access to the high quality school library program that they deserve.