The School Board in Oakland voted to eliminate the head librarian in Oakland schools while 30 percent of its 80 school libraries are already closed. At the high school level it's even worse. Fourteen of OUSD’s 17 high school libraries are closed. And the remaining three are run by a teacher, not a credentialed librarian. Of the libraries that are open, many stay afloat only because volunteers and PTAs have been able to raise enough money to finance them. This is unacceptable and our students deserve better!
School libraries help all students succeed and thrive. With your help, we can ensure that every student in an Oakland public school has access to a high quality, professionally staffed library. Can you sign this petition asking the Oakland Board of Education to support strong school libraries for every Oakland student?
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Every child should have access to the essential resources of an up-to-date school library with qualified staff. Numerous studies have shown that kids have higher rates of academic achievement when they have a school library in their lives. Libraries boost achievement even allowing for factors like poverty and race and can be a critical tool to help schools address the achievement gap. Librarians should be working every day with our kids to build a love of reading, teach information literacy skills, and support learning across the curriculum. Sadly, OUSD libraries are underfunded, understaffed, or closed.
In the spring of 2017, Oakland School Board adopted board policy 6163.1. The policy states:
“School Library Information and Technology (LIT) Centers are a fundamental literacy and academic support system, essential to a quality education at every level.”
“The Governing Board supports the development of LIT Centers in every district school, each headed by a professional teacher librarian or a librarian with a Masters in Library and Information Science (MLIS) with a wide range of library resources, including high quality and current books, reference materials, and digital information and technology.”
“The Superintendent or designee shall develop and regularly update a Board approved district-wide plan to provide a professionally staffed LIT Center in every district school - elementary, middle and high school.
The policy was adopted March 22, 2017, but funding has not followed. In fact, the district has reduced funding for the critical district library manager. Library funding at school sites is at risk this year, as it is every year.
If you think it is time for all Oakland kids to have the same access to high quality libraries, please sign this petition to the Oakland Unified Board of Education. Every School Board member needs to hear that the community supports implementation of Board policy 6163.1 and secure funding for professionally staffed libraries for every child in Oakland.
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