Don't Cut Davenport School Librarians

Facing a budget shortfall, the Davenport School District has threatened the positions of 22 librarians and replacing them with paraprofessionals.

Facing a budget shortfall, the Davenport School District has threatened the positions of 22 librarians and replacing them with paraprofessionals.

We need your support today! The vote to eliminate school librarians tomorrow (Thursday, Feb 20th).

We need people like you, who care about childrens' literacy and information skills, to act today and contact the school board members here or send an email to the board secretary at BoardComments@Davenportschools.org to express your concerns with this drastic measure.

Linda Smithson, a teacher-librarian at Smart Intermediate said reducing the department so drastically would hurt disadvantaged students — students of color, students with disabilities and low-income students — the most. “We are in a position that allows us to work with and develop relationships with all students in the building,” she said. 

This item, along with the Keystone closure, received the most push-back from the school board. - via QC Times

Our children deserve the best education possible with certified librarians. In fact, years of research have consistently shown a positive correlation between high quality school library programs and librarians and higher reading and writing test scores, including higher graduation rates. Across 34 states, the studies also suggest that our most needy students who are academically at risk benefit more when they have access to a school library with a certified school librarian than all students in general. School librarians not only provide reading guidance and resources, they teach students to critically evaluate print and online information to sift fact from opinion. Information literacy and Internet safety are at the core of their work.


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  • Mitch DeFauw
    commented 2020-02-20 11:25:26 -0800
    My name is Mitch DeFauw, and I am a former student of the Davenport school district. I am writing to request that you reconsider cutting the number of school librarians in the upcoming budget for the school district. I was incredibly alarmed by this news when I read about it, and implore you to reconsider your options.

    Speaking on personal experience, I still remember my elementary school librarian at Adam’s Elementary, Mrs. Turnipseed, and the impact she had on my early education. I remember sitting with my classmates listening her read “Stone Soup”. I remember doing projects in the library under her supervision that stimulated my understanding of the world around me. And I remember her dedication to find the right book for us so to encourage us to regularly read. She was an incredible librarian, and the idea that other children will miss out on these opportunities and support is incredibly frightening to me.

    Outside of personal experiences, school librarians are incredibly important to improving reading, language, and other test scores within our schools. I included in this email a link to the benefits of keeping school librarians, which I highly encourage all of you to read. One point it makes is that losing librarians at places of education consistently have a negative impact on schools, while gaining new librarians has the opposite effect, improving students’ overall education.

    https://kappanonline.org/lance-kachel-school-librarians-matter-years-research/

    Lastly, let me assure you that librarians are more than just people that sit behind a desk and occasionally check out items to children. They create opportunities and support for our under appreciated teachers, they serve on committees within and out of school, they provide regular programming for students, they facilitate and educate the use of technology within their schools, and so much more. To lose all of this support within the Davenport school district will severely negatively impact your students, which is a disservice that the Davenport education system cannot afford.

    Thank you for your time and I hope that you take my words to heart.
  • Chloe W
    commented 2020-02-20 11:06:37 -0800
    Davenport School Board, I urge you- please do not cut teacher librarian positions. These staff members are a vital part of every school. As a public librarian, I see the effect of budget cuts on school libraries reflecting in my patrons and their information-seeking behavior. Students need to know how to research and interrogate information, especially in a digital age. This starts in the school library. I am a proud graduate of public schools and remember my teacher librarians and library classes fondly. I hope that you will take a moment to remember your own school libraries, your children’s teacher librarians, and truly listen to your staff & students on this issue, for it is them who will be greatly affected by this decision.
  • Anonymous
    commented 2020-02-20 10:50:05 -0800
    I’m disheartened to see the threat of the loss of 22 teacher librarians in Davenport School District. I am an academic librarian who works with our entering freshman, and I can see on a daily basis the impact teacher librarians can have on preparing our students for academic success. Sadly, other students who have not been fortunate enough to have a teacher librarian influence their college prep years are already behind when they enter their crucial first-year courses. One terrible research paper experience and their whole trajectory can be thrown off-course. Teacher librarians are an essential part of the academic path, but they are also invaluable in creating savvy information consumers out of the students who will be heading straight to work out of high school. Our society needs guidance in the world of information now more than ever. Please recognize that this is not an appropriate solution to the budget problem.
  • Duncan Stewart
    commented 2020-02-20 08:42:18 -0800
    Dear Davenport School Board members, I write as an academic librarian, a father of two students who attended public schools with excellent teacher librarians, and as the 2015 president of the Iowa Library Association. You are cheating your students, your children, and the citizens of your school district by trying to eliminate most of your school librarians.
    Research available from St. Ambrose University Head Librarian Mary Heinzman, ILA, and the Iowa Association of School Librarians demonstrates that public school students who have enough teacher librarian support do much better in college in terms of grades, dropout rates, and graduation.
    Gutting your teacher librarian program will not solve your larger budget issues, but it will deprive the students you serve of a better future, higher earning potential, and their chance to be engaged citizens.
    Every teacher librarian eliminated affects dozens, if not hundreds, of your students. Not just this year, but into the future for a generation at least.
    Think of your own kids, the advantages that most of us of this generation had in terms of fully funded school librarians staffed my specialist teacher librarians. Are you really willing to close the door of educational opportunity on the upcoming generations after enjoying all the benefits yourselves?
    Public school students denied access to school libraries and teacher librarians are being CHEATED. You can stop that with your vote to preserve your district’s teacher librarians and their libraries.
    Duncan Stewart, special collections cataloging librarian, father of two children who thrive today because of the great schooling and library services they had K-12, and former ILA president who has seen the damage that such short-sighted cuts produce.
  • Dedra Van Gelder
    commented 2020-02-20 02:53:24 -0800
    Every child deserves a school library staffed with a certified school librarian! If you want your students to grow up with the skills needed to be competitive in college and their future careers, then you need to provide them with someone who is trained to teach them how to research, how navigate through the tons of accessible information, how to evaluate what they read and view for credibility, etc… They deserve someone who can not only guide them to the perfect reading choices for their individual needs, but also someone skilled in making purchasing selections.
  • (((Ariel Factor Birdoff)))📚
    commented 2020-02-19 18:12:31 -0800
    Children need librarians in their schools. It is an essential part of their education. Cutting a librarian is like cutting a math teacher. Children need to learn research skills for college. For life. Do not cut librarians.