Letter to Glen Ridge Superintendent

Superintendent Dirk Phillips
Glen Ridge Public Schools
12 High St.
Glen Ridge, NJ 07028

Dear Superintendent Phillips,

On behalf of the membership of the New Jersey Library Association (NJLA), we are extremely concerned that your district is proposing the elimination of one of its school media positions for the upcoming school year.

Through their educational training, school library media specialists receive graduate level training in literature, research, and technology skills essential in a twenty-first century learning environment. No other faculty member is so uniquely qualified to ensure that a student has the literacy background and research skills to succeed in the increasingly competitive global educational environment that all students must face.

We believe that students at every grade level must have a strong information literacy curriculum taught by a certified school media specialist. Eliminating the school media specialist at any grade level weakens a student’s reading and information seeking skills.

We have read that the school district is planning to have another teacher with different expertise administer the library program.   It is our belief that a much stronger educational experience would benefit your students if this teacher were to work in strong conjunction with a qualified school media specialist.   Although this teacher may possess strong credentials in one area it does not necessarily mean that these skills can easily replace the expertise of a qualified school media specialist.

The New Jersey Library Association membership is comprised primarily of public and academic librarians who understand the critical role that a school library media specialist plays in the educational development of a student. They see the results every day; students who have had a strong foundation in their school library come into the public and academic libraries fully prepared. However, those who come from schools where school library media specialist positions have been eliminated are left struggling and unable to handle complex research assignments.

I am including a link to a website http://unlockstudentpotential.org/ and an article about the need for school librarians and strong school library programs here: http://www.inthelibrarywiththeleadpipe.org/2018/strong-school-library-programs/ . These can provide you with further information on the importance of this position for your students.

We strongly urge you to continue to fund this school library media position. The elimination of a school media specialist can have a significant impact on a student’s future academic career.

Sincerely,

Patricia A. Tumulty, Executive Director