Government needs to establish clear guidelines for school libraries funding

FREDERICTON (April 22,2013): The Union representing school library workers, CUPE Local 2745, is calling upon the government to properly resource school libraries.

“For many years, funding for our school libraries has been on the decline, especially for new material and allocated hours for human resources”, explained  Sandy Harding, President of CUPE Local 2745, the Education Support Staff.

“The funding allocated to school libraries is inadequate. The base funding formula for school libraries allocates one (1) full-time employee (at 36.25 hours/week) for every one thousand students per school district.  This means that in small schools, if they have a library, it’s only part-time staff – many are not staffed at all. ”

“The funding for school library books is only $9 per student per year.  We are asking the Department of Education to establish clear guidelines on how that money is spent.  Currently, funding for school libraries is not done in a transparent manner; it is left to each individual school district and, in some cases, individual schools to decide how the money designated for school libraries is spent.  There are no guarantees that the monies are all spent in the school libraries.”

“We all know that literacy is a huge problem in this province.  More than half of New Brunswick adults (56 per cent of the English-speaking population and 66 per cent of the French-speaking population) don’t have a suitable literacy level to best engage with their communities.”

“The first step to counter our literacy problem is to make books available to the children in their own school.  Students should have unlimited access to the school libraries during school hours. Books of all genres should be available.  The focus on literacy begins with making sure the book collections are up-to-date, in good repair and available for all who may need them. As well, our libraries need multi-media facilities and materials such as Smartboards, iPads, eReaders, eBooks, more computers and other resources. New technologies should be part of a well planned literacy strategy.”

“Last year on April 23 which is National Book Day, Premier David Alward accepted our invitation to read to the children in a school library.  We know Premier Alward understand the important role of school libraries. This year, we are calling upon Premier Alward to make a commitment to properly resource our school libraries so that children everywhere in New Brunswick can access books and all the resources of school libraries.”

There are approximately 200 school library workers in New Brunswick. April 23rd is National Book Day which promotes the importance of books and reading. The School libraries’ brief can be downloaded from CUPE Local 2745’s website: