Dr. Robin Cicchetti is the Librarian at Concord-Carlisle Regional High School.
On Saturday, September 8, 2018, 32 school library advocates met at Concord-Carlisle Regional High School to discuss the MA School Library Study and begin the process of articulating a vision for turning the recommendations into a reality. The focus group included representatives from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners, the Massachusetts Library System, the Massachusetts Library Association, the MSLA Executive Board, and numerous K-12 school librarians.
MSLA President Anita Cellucci is the Library Teacher at Westborough High School
The past few months have offered much to keep up with in the world and libraries are responding in amazing solidarity. One of the reasons that I’ve spent a good chunk of my working life in libraries is the overwhelming energy of inclusiveness. Libraries are for everyone as this artwork from Hafuboti indicates.
MSLA has spent the past several years working toward providing the research and advocacy to support this belief. In the last couple of years that work has been taken on by the Legislative Commission. Over the past year, it has included work on the new Federal Legislation for ESSA (Every Student Succeeds Act). You can read about what our committee has been up to here and here. There is more work to be done and it is imperative to answer the call when the call comes for school librarian involvement. Successful Legislative Breakfasts were held this year as in past years at school libraries - getting legislators and community members into your building and libraries is an effective way to demonstrate the difference a library makes in our students lives. There are so many resources at our fingertips and when we join forces we are indeed a force.
Laura Luker is a library teacher at the Pioneer Valley Chinese Immersion Charter School
In these times of fake news and uncertain facts, it is more important than ever for young people to have access to quality, trustworthy sources of information. As school librarians, we are charged with teaching students the vitally important skills of critical reading, questioning, and seeking the information necessary to participate as informed members of society. However, for school librarians striving to teach information literacy, next school year’s lesson plans may contain far fewer resources.
Rachel Bouhanda is a library teacher at Billerica Memorial High School
I can assure you it is the time to be involved with School Library Legislative issues now more than ever. So please bear with me- there may be a chocolate chip cookie at the end of this article waiting for you.
Judi Paradis is a Librarian at the Plympton Elementary School in Waltham, MA
and a 2016 winner of the MSLA Service Award
I didn’t intend to spend 10 years giving most of my spare time to MSLA, but things lead to things, especially when they begin with an outrage. It was 2003 and I had just switched careers to become a school librarian in my home town. I loved my job to the point of obsession. The principal praised the program I was building; parent volunteers were showing up in droves; and kids were coming before and after school to get books and do odd bits of independent research. And then…..the budget crashed. Suddenly the library program disappeared and I was not only unemployed but outraged. While I quickly found another post, my outrage did not subside. MY VERY OWN CHILDREN were still in a town without a library program. As I drove 7 miles to work each day, all I could think about was that they didn’t have what the kids two towns over had—and all because we didn’t have an office park or a strip mall.