Will school libraries soon be gone?
Teachers and librarians from across the state gathered in Howell Township over the weekend to discuss how to advocate funding for a new legislation that could affect the future of school libraries.
Over the past 15 years, school libraries have suffered due to the No Child Left Behind Act. School library funding was left out of the act, said Kathy Lester, former president of Michigan Association for Media in Education.
In 2015, Congress passed a new legislation called the Every Student Succeeds Act, which replaced the No Child Left Behind Act. While the new law has been signed into law at the federal level, states are now coming up with their own plans, which are expected to be available next year.
School districts want to make sure they are prepared to have funding options to keep school libraries.
Here is the Michigan ESSA State Plan. Story continues below document.
However, as a result of the lack of funding from No Child Left Behind, several districts have been forced to close libraries or asked teachers to pick up those responsibilities.
"This has hurt the state and schools because school libraries aren't supported in the state of Michigan," Lester said. "Currently, only 8 percent of libraries have a full-time certified librarian staffing them."
The decline first started in 2003 and has steadily been on a downward slant ever since, Lester said.
"This hasn't been a good thing for the state because Michigan currently ranks 41st in Will school libraries soon be gone?: