It's No Coincidence

It’s no coincidence that Michigan literacy rates are plummeting at nearly the same rate that school librarians and libraries have been eliminated from schools.

It’s no coincidence that Michigan literacy rates are plummeting at nearly the same rate that school librarians and libraries have been eliminated from schools. (CLICK TO TWEET)

In fact, the number of school librarians in Michigan dropped 73% between 2000 and 2016 compared to a national decline of 20% and 92% of schools in the state now don’t have a full-time certified school librarian. (TWEET THIS)

Literacy rates have also been on the decline since 2003. The state now ranks 35th in the nation for 4th-grade reading scores as measured by a national student achievement assessment, the lowest of any state in the Midwest. (TWEET THIS)

What is really surprising is that prisons in the state of Michigan are required to have a library and a librarian but public schools are not. (TWEET THIS)



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If you want to point to the importance of school libraries and their relation to literacy rates, the state of Michigan is one of the best examples. That’s why we supported three bills in Michigan in 2019 that would ensure that students are no longer denied access to their school libraries. We also plan on continuing to fight for school libraries in Michigan and beyond in 2020 as part of our Libraries 2020 campaign. You can help us by signing and sharing the petition for school libraries here and by making a donation of $10-$25 today. Every $10 we raise helps us reach 1,000 more Americans with petitions like these.

Of course, this trend isn’t restricted to the State of Michigan. We’re seeing the same trend in states across the nation. School librarian positions have been steadily declining since 2000. Even more alarming is that two out of three children did not meet the standards for reading proficiency set by the National Assessment of Educational Progress. (TWEET THIS) This is especially troubling considering that we know that need to teach literacy skills and digital citizenship is stronger than ever in our new information driven economy.

We know that with the increased use of technology, school librarians play a strong role in efforts to increase literacy levels. That’s because school libraries are the largest classroom in the school where children are free to learn and explore the world around them without the continuous barrage and burden of standardized tests.  This freedom allows school libraries to become the center for creativity and collaboration, as many are now including makerspaces and becoming "learning commons" instead of places for just highly structured and curriculum focused individual reading and study.


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We launched Libraries2020 to help America get back on track. With the tremendous amount of evidence that public and school libraries make a significant impact in the lives and livelihood of Americans, we need to make sure that our children continue to have access to this incredible institution. Please take a moment to help us support libraries in 2020 with a $10-$25 donation today.

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