School libraries in Pa. coping with diminished resources

    About 73 percent of Pennsylvania’s public schools have taken part in a study that reveals school libraries are hurting for funding and resources.

    School librarians do more than shush students, says University of Pittsburgh professor Mary K. Biagini.

    They help teachers with reading curricula, encourage kids to read outside of school, and they have been linked to high student achievement.

    But that’s only if they have the time.

    In her analysis of a State Board of Education survey of Pennsylvania’s public school libraries, Biagini says 95 percent of responding schools have a library, but only 44 percent of their librarians are full time.

    “Many of the librarians are serving multiple schools within their district, so students do not have access to the librarian, and sometimes the library throughout their school days,” she says.”

    Education advocates say the most recent snapshot of school libraries is even more disappointing.

    They say the survey done in 2011 doesn’t reflect the most recent cuts to library programming.

    The Education Law Center of Philadelphia and others say school libraries are more vulnerable to cuts because they don’t receive dedicated state funding and are not bound by statewide standards.

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