School Library Advocacy
The Value of School Libraries
For generations, school libraries have been at the core of Ontario’s schools, with a proven impact on student achievement and standardized test scores. However, over the past 20 years, students all across Ontario have been steadily losing access to school libraries and library-based resources.
The results are dramatic: alongside the slow decline in board-level support for school libraries, the percentage of Ontario students who enjoy reading has fallen from 76% in 1997 to only 47% in 2018 (Ministry of Children & Youth Services. Gearing Up: A Strategic Framework to Help Ontario Middle Years Children Thrive. Toronto: Government of Ontario, 2017. & People for Education. Reading for Joy. Toronto: People for Education, 2011).
School Libraries and the 2020-21 School Year
The Ontario School Library Association (OSLA) is aware of the significant impact of COVID-19 on Ontario’s educators, including school library staff across Ontario. OLA and OSLA have been actively engaging decision-makers to advocacy for the protection of school libraries and school library staffing during this challenging school year.
- OLA and OSLA respond to the Toronto District School Board’s decision to repurpose all Elementary teacher-librarians (September 9, 2020)
- Open Letter to Ministry of Education and Ontario School Board Associations – School Library Staff: Essential to Supporting Students Adapt and Succeed in the Unprecedented 2020-21 School Year (July 31, 2020)
- Letter to Ontario Directors of Education and School Board Trustee Chairs (July 15, 2020) in English and in French
Aligned organizations continue to also support strong school libraries, with these recent examples of advocacy for Ontario School Libraries.
- Ontario Book Publishers Organization letter to Minister MacLeod (September 30, 2020)
- Ontario Book Publishers Organization letter to Minister Lecce (September 30, 2020)
- Association of Canadian Publishers (ACP) letter to Minister MacLeod (September 30, 2020)
- Association of Canadian Publishers (ACP) letter to Minister Lecce (September 30, 2020)
OSLA's Recommendations for School Library Funding
OLA and OSLA participate in provincial consultations on school libraries. You can see our most recent recommendations surrounding school library funding here:
OSLA has prepared Advocacy resources that you can use to advocate for your school libraries:
- Slide deck – Ontario School Library Responses to COVID-19 (2020)
- The State of Elementary School Libraries in Ontario – Excerpt from the Teaching Librarian (2019)
- About School Libraries – OSLA Information Sheet (2014)
- Facts about the impact and decline of school libraries – OSLA Information Brief (2014)
- De-Valuation of Teacher Librarians – OSLA Information Brief (2013)
- OLA Advocacy Toolkit – The resources of this toolkit were created to help OLA members from all library sectors, to advocate for their libraries and to broaden the community of library advocates in Ontario. This toolkit aims to provide guidance as to how to advocate effectively and link to additional resources for members who wish to learn more.
- Watch: School Library Advocacy Webinar (2019) – Hosted Diana Masliszewski and Richard Reid, in this one-hour session you will learn about OLA’s Advocacy Toolkit and how you can use the resources and templates to effectively advocate for your school library. Presenters will provide some concrete examples from their advocacy experiences in diverse school library settings.
- Slides – 100 Ideas for Internal Support and Engagement for Your School Library
- Watch: A Dozen Ways to be Indispensable in Your District – A 5 minute video prepared by Melissa Jensen
- My School Library Rocks (2019)
- School Libraries Matter Video Contest (2015)
- How School Library Programs Equal Success for Your Child (2003) – OSLA Council has created the pamphlet, as the first in a series of advocacy pamphlets, developed to support a strong school library program. The pamphlet uses quotes from research and experts detailing what the school library program can offer your child for success.