Do you know how many libraries are located within the Canyons School District? Do you know how many items — books, textbooks, resources, equipment and other materials — are in those libraries? And how about this one: Without the help of your favorite search engine, name the author who said, “I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library.”
Would it help if we gave a hint that the author was from Argentina?
If you answered one or more of those questions in the affirmative, congrats! You’re either a certified librarian or a certifiable bookworm. You’re probably even aware that April is School Library Month.
If you scratched your head and couldn’t answer the questions, don’t worry. Most of the rest of us couldn’t, either. But you’re in a good place — even better if you’re reading this from a library — to find answers to those questions and a several other interesting tidbits about libraries.
In honor of School Library Month, we’ve enlisted James Wilson, the District Library Specialist, to shine a light on the importance of school libraries and certified teacher librarians — all of which he oversees and appreciates.
Quoth Wilson: “Thank you to ALL CSD school library staff who help instill a love of reading in our students, and who teach life changing research and media literacy skills!”
Now for some library fun that doesn’t even require a familiarity with the Dewey Decimal System. Check out these facts provided by Wilson:
CSD has 42 school libraries overall, located in all 29 elementary schools and all 13 secondary schools.
CSD secondary school libraries are under the direction of 13 full-time Certified Teacher Librarians. This means they all have earned a bachelor’s degree, with the vast majority also having obtained masters degrees, a teaching certificate and school library media endorsement from an accredited institution. They teach, co-teach, collaborate, promote reading, manage the library and curate a huge collection of materials including books, textbooks, databases, periodicals, chromebooks and other equipment.
Our elementary schools are staffed with 40 part-time paraeducators that we call Library Technicians. Not only do they manage the library and its huge collection of materials, but they are charged with teaching every student in the school on a weekly basis through the Brain Booster program.
CSD School libraries are in charge of cataloging, circulating and managing more than 593,000 library materials, 356,000 textbook materials and over 450,000 resources and equipment. While some of us occasionally misplace a library book or two, consider the organization skills and systems our librarians need to have to keep track of well over one million items.
School libraries in the state of Utah have a required core curriculum with identified standards for students to be taught. These standards are identified as Reading Engagement, Research and Information and Media Literacy. Mastery of these standards are integral to the success of our students now and into the future.
The American Association of School Libraries (AASL) supports and advocates for all school libraries to be staffed by qualified educators, who are certified and endorsed by school libraries.
Students tend to earn better standardized test scores in schools that have strong library programs, according to data from more than 34 statewide studies that was included in the 2018 study by K.C. Lance and D.E. Kachel, “Why school librarians matter: What years of research tell us.”
Since 1992, a growing body of research has consistently shown positive correlations between high-quality library programs and student achievement. That information is included in a study prepared for the Harry & Jeanette Weinberg Foundation in 2013 named “School library impact studies: A review of findings and guide to sources.”
Remember the quote about one writer daydreaming that heaven is a library? That quote was made by the late Argentinian writer Jorge Luis Borges. Here’s another quote from a more commonly known author — J.K. Rowling — that’s worth remembering: “When in doubt, go to the library.”