New Jersey School Board Candidates Express Wide Support the Role and Work of School Librarians
A recent survey of candidates running for school board positions across New Jersey this November by the New Jersey Association of School Librarians shows significant support for the role of school librarians in education by current and future district leaders.
This is true for candidates from small and rural school districts as well as from large urban or suburban ones. There was wide geographic representation with candidates from South, Central, and North Jersey responding. Fully 91% of school board candidates indicated in the survey that they strongly believe that “a certified School Library Media Specialist is the best educator to teach digital citizenship, information and media literacy, and skills that promote college and career readiness” (Q5). Likewise, 97% of school board candidates in the survey feel that it is either very important or extremely important that “New Jersey public schools have a designated room in the building as the library that is staffed with certified School Library Media Specialists where students can read, research, and collaborate with their peers” (Q6).
This widespread support for school libraries and school librarians by candidates is important to note because several New Jersey school districts have made the unfortunate decision to cut their school librarians in recent years. School boards have the power and authority in New Jersey to set budgets and policy priorities as well as direct superintendents and administration in the plan of service for education in their districts. The New Jersey Association of School Librarians is interested in supporting and promoting the role of school librarians in every school and district, a budget for school library programs that support student achievement, and an instructional role for school librarians in developing and delivering information literacy and digital citizenship curriculum.
Other key findings from the school board candidate survey include:
- 69% of candidates think it is extremely important for school library media specialists to support equity, diversity, and inclusion in education (Q9).
- 94% of candidates believe that it is important for New Jersey to provide equal funding for all students within a district so all students have the same access to educational resources and opportunities provided by certified School Library Media Specialists and properly funded school libraries (Q8).
- 90% of responding school board candidates believe that it is extremely important for NJ public schools to provide their students a comprehensive education in the effective use of technology and digital resources (Q4).
- There was near-universal agreement (98%) that “students and teachers need school library services and related educational resources in order to meet the New Jersey Student Learning Standards for research and learning in core academic subjects” (Q2)
This non-partisan survey was conducted online by the New Jersey Association of School Librarians and EveryLibrary, the national political action committee for libraries, using a list of school board candidates compiled from county elections offices. The survey was sent by email to 1,245 school board candidates who appear on the November 2, 2021 ballot. A total of 345 candidates responded while the survey was open from September 30 to October 15, 2021. It was available by a direct link furnished to each candidate and through the NJASL.org website. Results of the survey are being made available to help the public understand the position of candidates on issues of concern for the NJASL professional community. Please see https://www.njasl.org/ for complete survey tables.
About the New Jersey Association of School Librarians (NJASL)
The New Jersey Association of School Librarians (NJASL) is the only statewide organization for School Library Media Specialists in New Jersey. NJASL believes that every student in every New Jersey school deserves to be taught by a State certified full-time School Library Media Specialist supported by a resource-rich school library program. School Library Media Specialists are essential partners in curriculum delivery and college and career readiness. They are leaders in the integration of technology, information and digital literacies, and the professional development for school staff.
EveryLibrary is a 501c4 political action committee dedicated to building voter support for libraries. Since 2012, EveryLibrary has provided donor-supported pro-bono advising and consulting to public library campaigns helping to win over $320 million in stable tax funding. Beginning in 2016, EveryLibrary has provided strategic and tactical support to school library communities on education and tax policy, along with supporting dozens of challenges to school library budgets and school librarian positions in schools and districts across the country through our digital campaign platform at SaveSchoolLibrarians.org.
For NJASL - Mary Moyer Stubbs, NJASL Advocacy Coordinator, [email protected]
For EveryLibrary - John Chrastka, Executive Director, [email protected]