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Senate Co-Sponsorship Memoranda

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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: February 25, 2019 10:07 AM
From: Senator John P. Blake
To: All Senate members
Subject: Certified Librarian Requirement in Public Schools
In the near future, I will be reintroducing legislation which would require public schools to have at least one “certified librarian” on staff. This legislation is a companion bill to Rep. Mark Longietti’s bill in the House, which he has reintroduced over the last several sessions.

A professional librarian would be required to have a college degree in addition to one or more academic years of professional library education. Due to reduced education funding levels many schools have had to choose to remove their librarian position from their payroll. However, librarians serve a vital role in our schools and assist students in developing their research abilities and critical thinking skills. Often librarians are in a position to work with both students and teachers able to provide reliable information and guidance.

In 2011, the Pennsylvania State Board of Education released a report entitled “Pennsylvania School Library Study, Findings and Recommendations.” This report set out to compare school library resources and services in grades kindergarten through 12th grade. The study analyzed how schools were supporting their school library services in relation to various forms of student performance. The study found that students achieved better on the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA) tests in districts with full-time librarians.

Public schools in Pennsylvania do not currently require a certified librarian to be on staff. Over the last several years, trends have shown an ongoing decrease in the number of certified librarians in public schools. The Pennsylvania School Libraries Association has found an 8 percent reduction in the number of school librarian positions over the past five years. In addition, 68 percent of Pennsylvania’s school districts have librarians serving in multiple buildings and over 25 percent have no librarian at all.

Librarians are an invaluable resource to our students and I ask you to please consider joining me in co-sponsoring this legislation.

Introduced as SB752