Save Our Texas Libraries: Talking Points

  • A statewide 2008 poll of Texas registered voters indicated that 84% strongly agree (and 99% in total agree) that school libraries are an essential part of the education experience and 94% agree that school librarians are critical to student achievement.

  • Certified school librarians and media specialists are central to the educational experience; and, as countless national studies (including one conducted here in Texas) show, certified school librarians administering quality school library programs help raise student achievement.

  • The instruction of research, reading, and information and digital literacy skills that librarians provide is a needed extension of and support to classroom instruction. Furthermore, librarians (as credentialed teachers themselves) collaborate with teachers to support curriculum standards.

  • To deny the students of our ISD access to quality school library programs, which can only be implemented by qualified school librarians, is to force our young people to incur a deficit in learning resources and instruction--a hardship that could position them behind millions of their school-aged peers throughout the state and the country.

  • The Needs of Public School Libraries, a study completed in 2008 by the Texas Education Agency and the Texas State Library and Archives Commission, reports that school libraries support core curriculum areas, enabling students to achieve their potential and fully participate now and in the future in the social, economic, and educational opportunities of our state, nation, and world.

  • School  libraries are a vital instructional component of education in K-12 learning environment, providing specialized programming for at-risk students and conducting programs that are proven to help keep kids in school.

  • Texas research has demonstrated that over 10% more students in schools with professional librarians and quality library programs than those students in schools without professional librarians and quality school library programs met minimum state expectations in standardized testing reading scores. Information about other state research can be found in School Libraries Work by Scholastic.

  • School librarians are certified and must hold a master’s degree, pass a graduate level exam on library media functions and supporting school curricula, and have two years of classroom teaching experience and uniquely positioned to help school districts raise standards to improve student performance, as required by state accountability standards.

  • Incentives to improve and raise the standards of learning and preparing for higher education, or substantive work knowledge must logically include a certified, highly qualified librarian who serves as the guide and provider of knowledge for the school’s students, teachers, and administrators.

  • Standard textbooks or course-specific instructional materials only provide the beginning for learning, and true cognitive development is best served from supporting research to offering incentives for voluntary reading, providing specialized age-appropriate and authoritative e-journals, and resources such as those available through school libraries.

  • The fundamental concern we all share is to provide students with the best and most successful learning experience possible. School libraries and school librarians are essential to this process.
  •  94% of Texas voters agree that public libraries are a good value for tax dollars and 87% believe libraries deserve more funding.
  • Libraries are part of the solution when a community is struggling economically. From free access to books and online resources for families to library business centers that help support entrepreneurship and retraining, libraries support lifelong learning.
  • Libraries help bridge the divide between those who have access to information and those who do not. Families making less than $15,000 annually are two to three times more likely to rely on library computers than those earning more than $75,000.
  • Libraries don’t just offer the hardware, but also offer the expertise of librarians in helping teach people how to use the Internet and find the information they need quickly. While Google can give you 50,000 responses to your inquiry, your librarian can help you find the one answer you need.
  • Nine in 10 Texas voters agree that, during economic hard times, public libraries provide important resources to families and job seekers.
  • Texas Libraries educate the workforce and connect people with jobs.

    • 73% help patrons complete online job applications
    • 80% provide job resources
    • 82% of Texas libraries offer homework resources
    • 67% provide e-books
    • Almost 40% of public libraries report they are the only source of access to computers and technology in their communities
    • 87% of libraries offer public IT training
  • For many small businesses, the library provides research resources and specially trained staff they could not otherwise afford.
  • With library patrons that include afterschoolers, homeschoolers, distance learners, and researchers, public libraries offer a critical means for many to meet the requirements of formal education programs.
  • Local public libraries form part of the state’s network for the deployment of information. With state government relying increasing on people accessing, filling out, and printing applications online, the burden of disseminating this information and helping people use technology to access state information falls to local public libraries.
  • Communities and cities across the country are ranked by many measures—economic development, literacy, educational institutions, and heath, for instance. Libraries are vital in helping local governments meet their own goals in these areas. Through programming, resources, and services, public libraries help cities and counties provide a stronger infrastructure to draw business and spur innovation.
  • Public libraries are committed to providing equal access to valuable information resources for all residents. This access is required to thrive in today's information age.

(For help in answering tough questions, see also: Academic Library Scripts)

  • While students are adept at finding information on the Internet, they are often poor at evaluating the quality of this information. Academic libraries provide a crucial service in teaching “information literacy” and critical thinking skills to students, faculty, and staff.
  • The materials and expertise within a college library, including both delivered online, make libraries and librarians essential to the learning community at each institution.
  • Libraries are major players and partners with classroom faculty and administrators in the design of economic and efficient business models in support of  new educational initiatives such as hybrid classes, community-based partnerships, and support for distributed learning.
  • Funding for cutting edge library resources and services must keep pace with student enrollment, but for most institutions, resources are already stretched too thinly.
  • Growth of the number of library workers has not kept pace with the growth of classroom faculty, student enrollments, and support services. When looked at within the context of the growth of staff-supporting disciplines, libraries have not kept pace and have hired 33 percent fewer staff than other institutional/instructional services.
  • Library instruction/information literacy outcomes are designed to assist in gathering critical, required data for the institution’s student learning outcomes.
  • Academic libraries—resources, services, and personnel—are vital economic partners in the institution’s community partnerships.
  • Libraries support not only general education curriculum but also workforce curriculum by delivering the resources critical to general and discipline-specific accreditation standards and guidelines.
  • College and university libraries provide creation, control, and preservation of print and digital resources –to determine what should be digitalized, to find resources to do the work, and develop appropriate bibliographic control mechanisms.
  • Libraries advocate fair scholarly communication models for copyright or fair use questions in both print and digital contexts.
  • Academic librarians provide cutting edge technology, software, and pathways and portals to research and information to constituents.
  • Librarians collaborate with faculty to greatly enhance instruction beyond the physical or even virtual classroom as well as support in-person and digital/virtual instruction.
  • Academic libraries and librarians support graduate students and faculty with expertise in research that enables them to produce better results, obtain grants, and support and enchance the faculty and institution's reputation.
  • Academic libraries provide critical interlibrary loan services to make resources available beyond the immediate institution and to expand external resoruces available to the institution's constituents.
  • Libraries generate institutional income by assisting with faculty grant proposals, according to several studies (such as Tenopir, 2008, University Investment in the Library, Phase II: An International Study of the Library's Value to the Grants Process).
  • Academic libraries provide high quality business information used by individuals and large and small companies to develop their markets, thus stimulating local economic development.
  • Libraries are an important consideration when students select a college or university. In a recent Michigan study, the library ranked second in terms of facilities important in the selection decision process; only facilities for the student’s major ranked higher. Libraries were ranked ahead of technology facilities, the student union center and even recreational facilities. The library was also rated highly in terms of importance for retention. The study stated that four key areas (facilities in the student’s major, the library, classrooms and technology) rated high in importance and high in student satisfaction.
  • Like all libraries, academic libraries are great “equalizers” for economically disadvantaged and rural populations, providing information for all residents.

Additional information can be obtained from ACRL <http://www.acrl.ala.org/value> .

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Created on Jan 24, 2011 | Last updated September 02, 2014