Clark County Affirms the Need for Certified School Librarians

The Clark County (NV) School Board listened last week when hundreds of parents, certified school librarians, educators, and stakeholders said that certified school librarians should be central in their new district Effective School Libraries policy. Now it's time to keep them accountable as Policy 6161 is implemented. 

This success follows an initiative of CCSD certified librarians, Trustee Chris Garvey, CCSD Library Supervisor Robert Jones, and supported by the local Clark County School Librarians Association (CCSLA) to rewrite their library policy to focus on making their libraries more "effective" for students - and with a real focus on equity.

On the way to this goal, however, there was a problem. The board was seriously considering stripping out the requirement to have certified school librarians teach the information literacy curriculum, staff the school libraries, and supports students and their families. The CCSLA leadership team put out a clear statement that watering down the policy to allow any "licensed designee" to do this important work was unacceptable. EveryLibrary answered their call for support and helped amplify their message across our advocacy network. In just 7 days, over 200 people responded to our call-to-action and sent a clear message to the Board in support of the CCSLA position.

We are happy to report that the Board amended and then passed Policy 6161 at their December 10, 2020 meeting to include: "[A]n effective school library includes a certified teacher-librarian and when a certified teacher-librarian is not available, a licensed designee can be temporarily assigned as per regulation" [emphasis ours]. This is a significant win for CCSLA since it places teacher-librarians at the forefront. The Board further agreed to continue discussions about how to implement that librarian-first approach across the entire district. 

Petitions like this one work, but only if we can get them in front of people who care. EveryLibrary spends money on each petition to help reach new people about school librarians. Donate $10 today and help us reach over 1,000 about school library funding. 

We truly appreciate the work of certified school librarians and the CCSLA team there, especially their advocacy lead Susan Slykerman. Their in-district advocacy for the profession was critical to a smart new policy and to the success of the campaign. There is a lot of work to be done in Clark County to see more certified school librarians at work in elementary, secondary, and high schools. Please donate today to help us help groups like CCSLA in 2021. And share the Pledge to Support School Librarians across your personal social networks and help us build more support in the county and across the country.