Earlier I posted about the dramatic decline in the number of librarians in the Philadelphia public schools: only 8 librarians in 220 schools!


This librarian replied:


Thank you for bringing attention to this sad trend in education, Diane. School librarians in Indiana are also becoming extinct. Indiana school guidelines only require one licensed school librarian per district. This means in lean times the librarian is the first to get cut. As a result, many Indiana school districts only have one high school librarian.


While it is true that high school students do more research and definitely need a librarian, I could argue that librarians are almost MORE important in the lower grades. Elementary school librarians are crucial in helping to develop a love of reading in children through story times and activities. They have extensive training on selecting and maintaining a quality library collection and as licensed teachers, they educate both student and staff on the effective use of these collections. Studies indicate that younger students (and many older ones as well) need to cut back on screen time. Therefore, it is important that schools continue to have physical books available.


As students move into middle school and wish to use alternatives, they will know that they can turn to their librarian for instruction on how to find and use digital resources. Elementary and middle school librarians are crucial in teaching our children the information literacy skills they will need to become well-informed adults. They teach our youth how to responsibly use the power of the Internet and navigate the massive amount of information that’s on it. They are on the front lines when it comes to battling the current “fake news” epidemic. If anything, we need school librarians now more than ever!