All school libraries are being closed by the Windsor-Essex Catholic District School Board. What a novel way to promote reading < sarcasm >. What a novel way to improve literary <more sarcasm>. The EQAO scores are going to soar <still more sarcasm>.

A school in Sudbury which no longer has a library takes its students to the public library twice a month. Bravo! <sarcasm>

Cathy Geml, an associate director of the Windsor Catholic School Board, argues that the act of walking to the school library, choosing books to read and returning to class wastes instructional time. No, I’m not kidding. Geml actually said that. The provinces  literacy and numeracy secretariat  maintains  every elementary classroom should have 1000-1500 books. Geml argues that is impossible,  but with the libraries closed one school has 200 – 250 books per classroom.  Teachers can help students choose books. Helping students choose books isn’t going to cut into instructional time. Keeping track of who had what book isn’t going to cut into instructional time?

Geml also says that after making a few calls to school libraries, she discovered that at one school a single book had been signed out. One book indeed <sarcasm>. Geml argues we need to be teaching 21st century learning skills, and the library space will be used for music, arts or drama. But, music, arts and drama programs are being cut too, so they don’t need space.


Small wonder the Ontario School Library Association called an emergency meeting.

Are kids going to be able to read books on their banned cell phones now?

You can read more about this in today’s front page of the Toronto Star or here and weep about the logic.

Is this happening where you are?



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4 Responses to “Ontario school boards are trying to improve EQAO test scores and at the same time boards are closing school libraries.”

  1. Melanie S on May 17th, 2011 11:24 am

    Oh dear Lord.

  2. Melanie S on May 17th, 2011 11:34 am

    OK now that I’ve calmed down, here’s a real comment. The need to update libraries to be more in line with 21st century technology is real, and is being reflected in university libraries, which are more and more becoming study spaces with power outlets for laptops, and online access to journals and e-books.

    This does NOT mean that the library model should be abandoned. Students still need a research and reading space OUTSIDE of the classroom to foster good habits and with the benefit of a trained librarian. If they want to put more emphasis on technology, have KOBOs available for sign-out if the local public library lends e-books. How about comfy reading chairs/mats/beanbags so kids aren’t reading at their desks?

  3. Laura Ringer on May 24th, 2011 6:40 pm

    This is the first I’ve heard about libraries being entirely shut down. That’s just terrible to hear. Big news this week is the Los Angeles Unified School District, the second largest school district in the United States, is letting go all, or most, librarians. This is terrible for the future of our students. Whereas they do need 21st century technology education, they still need to learn to read and analyze what they read.

  4. Elona Hartjes on May 24th, 2011 6:46 pm

    I was just remembering how important the school librarian was for me. I grew up in a house without books, and if it hadn’t been for the school librarian who guided my reading, I might not have developed a love for reading. As a teacher now, I ask the school librarian to help my reluctant readers choose books that they will find engaging. I don’t have that knowledge. I would really miss our school librarian’s support in numerous ways.

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