Clark County, Nevada is our nation's 5th largest school system. With 336 schools and a budget of over $5.2 billion dollars, their current school library policy only calls for "adequate" library services. We think it's wonderful that the school board is considering an overhaul of Policy #6161 (the first since 1981). But we want to caution them that "effective libraries" need certified school librarians. Right now, the policy draft would allow for "other licensed designees" other a certified school librarian to run the library and staff the library programs. The other parts of the draft policy are smart. It references not only the Nevada state standards for information literacy but also the definition of "effective" put forward by the national standards-setting organization AASL, the American Association of School Librarians. Here is what we had to say in response to their call for public comment on November 19th:
"As a national advocacy organization for libraries, EveryLibrary recognizes the unique and important role that certified school librarians have in operationalizing any "Effective School Library Program". We are writing today to recommend that you strike the provision in P-6161, School Libraries that mentions "or a Licensed Designee" (in the opening paragraph) while retaining "a certified teacher-librarian" there. We would like to encourage you to amend P-6161 to focus entirely on certified teacher-librarians. We applaud you for considering a policy to support effective school libraries in your district, but as numerous studies have pointed out certified teacher-librarians are central to this policy. This will ensure that your policy is properly implemented. Thank you for your consideration. You can see more about our work at saveschoollibrarians.org. Sincerely, John Chrastka, Executive Director, EveryLibrary"
The board needs to know that none of those goals are possible without the right staffing. The board meets on December 2nd for a working session about this (and other) draft policies and will vote on December 10, 2020. We are eager to see the policy be considered with the role of the school librarians firmly in place.