The San Jose Mercury has a great article about a school librarian in Sunnyvale, CA who has made a huge difference in the learning climate of Lakewood Elementary School. Congratulations to Valerie Torres for the difference she has made! The article explains:
In reconceptualizing the library, Torres gave computers a more prominent place, made the labeling of books and shelves more child-friendly and began bringing a wider variety of modern literature into the collection. She started a reading club, mounted chess competitions and set up a “store” in the library where students can cash in reading points for such things as book marks and even books.
She also works closely with teachers to identify research material to support what students are learning, finding Web sites and other information that teachers might not have time to unearth. She teaches students how to do bibliographies and use information properly.
This is one example of what Will Richardson writes about in his recent column in District Administration and what David Warlick just wrote about on his blog. This library is now the heart of the school and facilitates learning through the use of technology and books. As research shows, trained and credentialed librarians increase student achievement.
Unfortunately, in order to keep Ms. Torres for another year at Lakewood Elementary School, fifth grade teacher Lori Abrahams explains, “We’re having bake sales to keep a librarian to keep a librarian on our campus.” California ranks 51st in the U.S. in the number of credentialed librarians per students. The national ratio is 1 credentialed librarian for 871 students, while in California, the ratio is 1 credentialed librarian for 4,541 students.