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Letter: Beginning of the end for elementary school libraries?

The proposed school budget for Longmeadow Public Schools seems to indicate the beginning of the end for our elementary school libraries.

The job description for the position of Library/Media Specialist is listed as a full-time position, yet the proposed budget cuts the position to three days a week at Wolf Swamp Road School and four days a week at Blueberry and Center schools. This is shocking to me as circulation of books at Wolf Swamp has risen from 4,000 books for the 2012-13 school year to just over 17,000 books for this current school year. I am not surprised that ELA scores on MCAS tests for that same time period have also risen…a direct correlation.

The lack of equity in access to the school libraries across the three elementary schools is also troubling, as the school with the largest population of students receiving free or reduced lunch is going to have the least access to the school library.

Research shows that the number of books accessible to a child is a direct indicator of success later in life. Students whose families qualify for free or reduced lunch have fewer books at home…the school library is the one resource that bridges the gap for these children. Why make the deepest cut in services and access to the school where the students are most vulnerable.

Please consider contacting your building principal, superintendent, and school committee members and request funding to return the elementary school library/media specialist positions to at least an equitable number of days a week, and if possible, to the full time status as outlined in the job description.
Lastly, I invite all School Committee members to visit the Wolf Swamp School library/media center to see what we offer our students. These are not the libraries or students of our youth, but a resource to enhance reading, information literacy, and problem solving at a young age.

– Submitted by Krishna Longanecker, Longmeadow teacher.

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