Advocacy News

OLA and OSLA respond to the Toronto District School Board’s decision to repurpose all Elementary teacher-librarians

September 9, 2020

The Ontario Library Association (OLA) and the Ontario School Libraries Association (OSLA) are deeply concerned with the Toronto District School Board’s decision to repurpose all Elementary teacher-librarians.

TDSB’s decision to eliminate Elementary school teacher-librarians board-wide will have dramatic impacts on student learning and success. While we understand that access to virtual library resources may still be available, without the support of teacher-librarians, it will be extremely difficult for teachers and students to navigate and use these resources effectively.

It is important to emphasize that access to library space and book circulation is only one element of the school library experience. School libraries are critical to successful online learning, ensuring that students achieve curriculum objectives, and curating the digital and print resources they need to succeed. School libraries, especially at the Elementary level, foster students’ love of reading, which research has shown has a positive impact on success in science and math, literacy scores, and students’ social and civic engagement.[i]

Teacher librarians are literacy leaders and technology partners in each school. During the early months of the pandemic, teacher-librarians assumed a critical role and provided strong leadership in helping students, teachers and parents adapt to a distance learning approach.

We cannot afford to sacrifice the long-term learning success of our children by eliminating the school library program. This is more essential than ever and must be maintained in our schools. Other school boards in the Greater Toronto Area are implementing plans that successfully strike a balance between smaller cohort sizes and maintaining the critical functions of the school libraries.

We strongly urge TDSB to immediately revise its Elementary school year plan to keep its teacher-librarians and ensure that students and teachers will continue to have access to these vital resources and supports.  

[i] People for Education, Reading for Joy, 2011. Toronto: People for Education, 2011.  

Open Letter to Ontario School Board Associations and Ministry of Education - July 2020

On July 31, the Ontario School Library Association (OSLA) sent an open letter to the Ontario School Board Associations and Ministry of Education regarding the importance of school library staff to supporting students adapt and succeed in the unprecedented 2020-21 school year.

Read the full letter – School Library Staff: Essential to Supporting Students Adapt and Succeed in the Unprecedented 2020-21 School Year

Letter to Directors of Education and School Board Trustee - July 2020

As school boards across the province are planning for different scenarios this fall, the Ontario School Library Association wants to ensure that school libraries are part of the consideration.

This week OSLA sent a letter to each of the 72 Directors of Education and School Board Trustee Chairs in Ontario to share information on the value of school libraries and school library staff.

Joint OLA and FOPL Ontario Budget Submission - 2020

The Ontario Library Association, with the Federation of Ontario Public Libraries (FOPL) has submitted recommendations as part of the Ontario’s 2020 Pre-Budget consultation process. In addition to our strong recommendation to maintain existing funding for Ontario’s public libraries, OLA & FOPL are recommending further investment that will make sure that all people in Ontario – no matter where they live – continue to have access to modern, cost-effective resources and services through their local public libraries. Specifically, our Pre-Budget Submission is recommending that the Ontario government make an ongoing, multi-year investment to:

  • Launch an Ontario Digital Public Library, would leverage the province’s significant purchasing power to give all Ontarians access to a common set of online and e-learning resources through their public library, free-of-charge; and
  • Complete the transformation of inter-library loan by supplementing existing provincial funding in order to ensure that local public libraries can fulfill the existing demand from people across Ontario, and address the historic imbalance for public libraries in Northern Ontario

You can read OLA and FOPL’s full Pre-Budget Submission here.

OSLA Ontario Budget Submission - 2020

This year, OSLA prepared and submitted a letter directly to the Pre-Budget consultations. OSLA continues to raise its concern over the increasingly urgent state of school libraries and library staff in Ontario. OSLA’s submission reiterates its long-standing recommendation to enhance the accountability and transparency by mandating that the funds currently allocated by the Ministry of Education to school boards for school libraries and library staff are spent on these priorities.

Open letter to the Minister of Education from OSLA Council - November 2019

The Ontario School Library Association remains focused on advocating for predictable and stable funding for school libraries. Here is our recent correspondence with the Minister of Education.