All Students Need School Librarians

Michigan -- September 2019 Update

Michigan School Library Coalition

All of Michigan's students need equitable access to effective school libraries staffed by certified school librarians!


Several school districts like Eastpointe, Troy, Comstock, and Mount Clemens have added certified school librarian positions this year! MAME is excited to see that more students have access to this critical resource and look forward to more schools adding positions. In spite of this, Michigan still ranks 47th in the nation in the ratio of students to certified school librarians. All students in our state deserve to have access to the services provided by a teacher-certified school librarian.


School librarians:


  • Improve student achievement especially reading achievement
  • Lead and support technology integration
  • Improve college and career readiness by:

* Teaching research and information literacy skills

* Teaching digital citizenship skills

Michigan School Libraries / School Librarians in the News

There have been a number of news articles and TV segments since our last newsletter highlighting the need for effective school libraries staffed by certified school library media specialists:


Lansing CityPulse: "Lawmakers Push to Require Librarians in Public Schools"

https://www.lansingcitypulse.com/stories/lawmakers-push-to-require-librarians-in-public-schools,12799, May 11, 2019

"When you have a good media specialist in the school library, literacy rates rise," [Representative Matt Koleszar] said.


WXYZ Channel 7: "'I Think We're in a Literacy Crisis' Legislators Push for More Librarians in Michigan Schools", https://www.wxyz.com/news/three-bills-target-michigans-literacy-crisis, May 21, 2019

Representative Darrin Camilleri appeared on WXYZ Channel 7 News to talk about the need for the Three School Library Bills


Fox 2 News Let it Rip: "Are Students Getting the Skills They Need to Succeed in College?", https://www.fox2detroit.com/news/let-it-rip/are-students-getting-the-skills-they-need-to-succeed-in-college-, June 2, 2019

Representative Camilleri appeared and spoke about literacy and the need for school libraries and librarians (at around 10:24 in the recording.)


Detroit News, "Opinion: Educators Deserve More Funding", https://www.detroitnews.com/story/opinion/2019/06/19/opinion-educators-deserve-school-funding/1481093001/, June 29, 2019

MEA President Paula Herbert writes that increased funding "...means more school counselors, social workers, and librarians."


Bridge Michigan, "Opinion: Michigan School Libraries are Still in Limbo: Why?", https://www.bridgemi.com/guest-commentary/opinion-michigan-school-libraries-are-still-limbo-why, August 2, 2019.

Eastpointe School Librarian, Patrick Taylor, asks "why it is such an uphill battle for Michigan Schools to have access to libraries and librarians."


Detroit Free Press, "Amid a literacy crisis, Michigan's school librarians have all but disappeared", https://www.freep.com/story/news/education/2019/08/10/michigan-school-librarians-disappear/1965219001/, August 10, 2019.

Chalkbeat Reporter, Koby Levin, who came to the School Library Coalition meeting last February writes about the inequity of access to effective school libraries staffed by certified school librarians in our state.

NPR Interview about School Librarians in Michigan

School librarian and MAME & AASL Board Member, Kathy Lester was interviewed about School Librarians in Michigan on August 26, 2019. Please listen to the interview. You can find it here: https://www.michiganradio.org/post/michigan-students-reading-levels-fall-school-librarians-go-extinct

Literacy Spokespersons Emphasize Equitable Access to Certified School Librarians

At nErDcamp Michigan, on July 8, 2019, all three 'keynote' speakers, Donalyn Miller, John Schu (with author Kevin Henkes), and Pernille Ripp spoke about the need for all students to have access to a school library with certified school librarians.


Authors Colby Sharp and Donalyn Miller created a great video titled "Every Kid Needs a Book Whisperer" (https://youtu.be/6QnkHZwNjLA) to accompany Chapter 2 "School Libraries and Librarians: The Right of Every Child" of their book Game Changer: Book Access for All Kids.


The points that they make in the video include:

  1. School librarians provide book access to all students

  2. School librarians are most often the only teacher in their school formally trained in collection development and current trends in children’s and young adult literature.

  3. School librarians teach information literacy/critical literacy skills and how to access information online which helps with, among other things, building empathy skills with our students.

  4. We need our school librarians now more than we ever have!

New Resource: Library Media Specialists and Michigan's Literacy Plan

Members from MAME have created a presentation at the request of the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) on how Library Media Specialists (also called certified School Librarians) specifically support the MDE Literacy Plan. The presentation can be viewed at: http://bit.ly/MIslliteracy


This presentation can be shared with School Administrators, Local School Boards, Superintendents, and others.


Another resource to share with stakeholders is the Effective School Library Toolkit for Administrators (http://bit.ly/slibtoolkit). This toolkit covers the "what", the "why", and the "how" of effective school library programs.

Thank You, REMC Association of Michigan for Your Support!

The REMC Association of Michigan approved a statement of support for libraries and librarians at their September 10th Board Meeting. You can read the statement here: http://bit.ly/REMClibs. Thank you to the REMC Board. MAME looks forward to continued collaboration with the REMC Association.

MAME at the Michigan PTA Annual Convention

Thank you to the Michigan Parent Teacher Association for welcoming MAME members Kathy Lester and Gwenn Marchesano to their Annual Convention in Farmington on August 4th to exhibit and present a workshop on "School Libraries: Supporting Your Child's Literacy Achievement." {You can see the presentation here: bit.lyMIslibPTA.} It was great to speak with so many parents about the MAME and Michigan PTA's common goal of providing the best education and resources for all students in Michigan. MAME looks forward to additional collaboration with the Michigan PTA.

State Board of Education Meeting

MAME members Kathy Lester and Lisa Brakel presented at the State Board of Education meeting on August 13. They highlighted work done by MAME in partnership with the Michigan Department of Education including the Effective School Library Toolkit for Administrators, the presentation Library Media Specialists and Michigan's Literacy Plan, and the School Library for the 21st Century Benchmarks. The SL21 Model School Library program which is sponsored by the Library of Michigan was also highlighted. The handout provided to the State Board of Education members can be found here: bit.ly/MIsbed1. Thank you to the State Board of Education for their support of student access to effective school libraries.

New MeL Video Highlights School Librarian/Teacher Collaboration

This new video (https://youtu.be/EAhGskJMy00) about using the Michigan eLibrary (MeL) resources at school highlights the collaboration between a classroom teacher and a certified library media specialist. Librarian Laura Warren-Gross and teacher Stephanie Hampton show that "School libraries are a great equalizer for kids..."

What Your Organization Can Do to Support School Libraries


  • If you have not already, write a statement of support for school libraries (or for the school library bills). Samples include:
    1. Michigan State Board of Education Resolution in Support of School Libraries

    2. Michigan Library Cooperative Directors Association Statement of Support

    3. Michigan Reading Association Statement of Support

    4. Michigan Academic Library Association Statement of Support

    5. REMC Association of Michigan Statement of Support

    6. Education Trust-Midwest Support for School Library Bill


  • If you have not done so already, send an email/letter from your organization to the House Education Committee Chairperson, Pamela Hornberger (PamelaHornberger@house.mi.gov) to request a hearing on these bills.
  • Continue to Share the Call to Action. Continue to ask your members to send emails to their legislators to support the school library bills. EveryLibrary has created a page to make it easy to do so at this link: https://www.saveschoollibrarians.org/3billsmichigan
  • Reach out to Local School Boards and Superintendents to express the need for ALL students to have equitable access to school libraries staffed by certified school librarians.

MAME Willing to Present at Your Association Event or Conference

MAME is willing to present at your event or conference about effective school library programs or about specific topics such as books & reading, research skills, digital citizenship, and/or technology integration. Please reach out if interested.

Please let us know if you have any questions or comments.

Also, please let us know what actions your organization has taken.

Email Kathy Lester at kathyL@mimame.org

Thank you so much for your support!