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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session


Posted: November 9, 2021 01:53 PM
From: Senator Judith L. Schwank
To: All Senate members
Subject: Keep Certified Librarians in our Public Schools
Soon, I will be reintroducing legislation which would require public schools to have at least one “certified librarian” on staff. This legislation will join Rep. Mark Longietti’s HB 1168 in the House as a companion bill.  

A certified librarian would be required to have a college degree in addition to one or more academic years of professional library education. These librarians fill an important role in our schools and assist students in developing their critical thinking skills and research abilities, a skill set that is becoming increasingly vital for higher education and workforce preparedness.

Sadly, each year Pennsylvania school districts eliminate school librarian positions and library programs due to reduced education funding levels. In 2021, across Pennsylvania 48 districts report having no school librarians in any of their school buildings, impacting almost 90 thousand K-12 public school students.

In 2011, the Pennsylvania State Board of Education last 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.

Librarians are an invaluable resource to our students, and I urge my colleagues to join me in co-sponsoring this important legislation.

Introduced as SB964