Tuesday, March 10, 2009

A Message from OLA


Oklahoma’s school library programs support student learning across all subjects and all grade levels. And, at this time, Oklahoma’s school libraries need YOUR SUPPORT. This need for support comes from Senate Bill 834, which seeks to convert all Oklahoma school districts into charter districts at the rate of at least 20% annually as of September 2010 and to allow for all districts to be designated “charter” through annual lotteries by September 2014. Each charter district added will be exempted from the requirement to have school libraries and certified school library media specialists.

Please urge your community and legislators to support Oklahoma school libraries. To support school libraries is to support:

Literacy in Oklahoma.

Reading is promoted by having access to books. Reading books leads to improved reading skills, better writing, a larger vocabulary, better grammar, and more knowledge. Access to books at school is especially important in a state with vast open spaces between public libraries and with a large population at or below poverty levels.

School libraries provide for a wide range of interests on a wide range of topics and promote reading across the curriculum.

Literacy as a 21st Century Skill

School libraries help all students to learn deeply (beyond memorization) and to use information in meaningful ways, thus, contributing to critical reading, effective writing, and project-based learning.

Technological Literacy

Young people need to be able to use information technologies, applying the information to their understanding and knowledge and to solving real problems. School libraries provide Internet access, instruction, and supervision. Technology skills are especially important to young people who lack access to broadband and to a computer. Technological skills are critical to Oklahoma’s current and future workforce.

Collaboration between School Librarians and Teachers

School Librarians can provide teachers with reference services, access to resources (in all formats) for student learning, and a partnership for inquiry learning, the foundation for motivating students and for preparation for higher education.

An Improved School Climate

The school library is a safe, productive space where young people can be comfortable and can find information at the level and detail suitable to their ages, interests, and needs, where good relationships can be fostered among students, parents, teachers, and the community, and where the librarian is the teacher who best understands the scope of the curriculum and the resources at hand and who best knows each student.
To exempt Oklahoma’s public schools from the requirement to provide a school library program is to fail Oklahoma students and also to fail Oklahoma taxpayers who deserve to have the best preparation of the future workforce of the state.

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