School libraries 2017
School libraries have evolved from just being places students go to borrow books. They have evolved into “learning commons” where resources are housed in both physical and virtual space and where students can collaborate.
In addition to their evolution from traditional libraries to the libraries-as-learning commons model, Ontario’s public school libraries have seen changes in staffing.
- In 2017, only 52% of elementary schools reported having a full- or part-time teacher–librarian; an all-time low in the 20-year history of the People for Education Annual Survey, down from 80% in 1998
- 68% of secondary schools have teacher-librarians – a decline from 76% in 2008.
- Elementary schools in central Ontario are over 8 times more likely to have teacher-librarians compared to those in northern Ontario, where only 11% of elementary schools have these specialized staff.
These staffing changes have real effects on students. Reports from Queen’s University and others have shown that students in schools with teacher-librarians are more likely to report they like to read. Extensive research has found that students who enjoy reading are more likely to do better in school.