New York City Council Header
File #: Res 1800-2013    Version: * Name: Require certified school library media specialists (“school librarians”) in public elementary schools and to enforce library staffing regulations in all public schools.
Type: Resolution Status: Filed
Committee: Committee on Education
On agenda: 6/12/2013
Enactment date: Law number:
Title: Resolution urging the New York State Board of Regents and State Education Department to require certified school library media specialists (“school librarians”) in public elementary schools and to enforce library staffing regulations in all public schools, including the New York City public school system.
Sponsors: Vincent J. Gentile, James G. Van Bramer, Charles Barron, Gale A. Brewer, Margaret S. Chin, Julissa Ferreras-Copeland, Letitia James, Peter A. Koo, G. Oliver Koppell, Brad S. Lander, Rosie Mendez, Annabel Palma, Domenic M. Recchia, Jr., Donovan J. Richards
Council Member Sponsors: 14
Date Ver.Prime SponsorAction ByActionResultAction DetailsMeeting DetailsMultimedia
12/31/2013*Vincent J. Gentile City Council Filed (End of Session)  Action details Meeting details Not available
6/12/2013*Vincent J. Gentile City Council Introduced by Council  Action details Meeting details Not available
6/12/2013*Vincent J. Gentile City Council Referred to Comm by Council  Action details Meeting details Not available
Res. No. 1800
 
 
Resolution urging the New York State Board of Regents and State Education Department to require certified school library media specialists ("school librarians") in public elementary schools and to enforce library staffing regulations in all public schools, including the New York City public school system.
 
 
By Council Members Gentile, Van Bramer, Barron, Brewer, Chin, Ferreras, James, Koo, Koppell, Lander, Mendez, Palma, Recchia and Richards
Whereas, According to the Regulations of the New York State Commissioner of Education, each elementary and secondary school (middle schools and high schools) is required to have a school library; and
Whereas, Currently, New York State regulations require certified school library media specialists ("school librarians") in middle and high schools but not elementary schools; and
Whereas, In the New York City public school system, with approximately 1.1 million students and 1,700 schools, there are only 306 certified librarians on staff systemwide with 178 in high schools, 95 in middle schools, and 33 in elementary schools, according to the latest data by the City's Department of Education ("DOE"); and
Whereas, This number represents a decline of more than 16% since 2011, when the City employed 365 licensed librarians; and
Whereas, According to DOE's testimony at a New York City Council hearing held jointly with the Committee on Education, the Committee on Cultural Affairs, Libraries and International Intergroup Relations and the Select Committee on Libraries in May 2013, "[m]any campus schools are maximizing resources by sharing library services and the costs of a librarian [while] others are assigning teachers to the library [and] using parent volunteers"; and
Whereas, In 2012, the New York State Board of Regents Advisory Council on Libraries ("RAC") issued a report which included a number of recommendations for school libraries, including the recommendation to "expand the existing Commissioner's Regulations ("CR 91.2") to require an elementary school librarian in every school…and enforce library staffing regulations in all public schools"; and
Whereas, According to testimony by a RAC representative at the New York City Council hearing, the state regulation calling for a school librarian at the secondary level has been in existence since 1973, but has not been enforced in 40 years; and
Whereas, Extensive research shows that schools that utilize school libraries have seen increased motivation, higher assessment scores and higher graduation rates among students; and
Whereas, School librarians are essential because they teach students information literacy, technological skills, and collaborate with teachers in designing curricula, developing learning experiences, and providing technical support; and
Whereas, The role of the school librarian continues to evolve to accommodate the learning needs of students in the 21st century and, furthermore, the school librarian is increasingly seen as a guide to help students become life-long learners; and
Whereas, The school librarian has become a leader in teaching information and technology skills, including ethics and responsibility in the use of social media; and
Whereas, Advocates maintain that school libraries and librarians are essential to closing the digital divide for low income students and others who lack access to computers, tablets and other technology at home; and
Whereas, It is absolutely necessary for every school to have a school librarian to create a supportive working and learning environment for teachers and students, respectively, and to ensure academic achievement; now, therefore, be it
Resolved, That the Council of the City of New York urges the New York State Board of Regents and State Education Department to require certified school library media specialists ("school librarians") in public elementary schools and to enforce library staffing regulations in all public schools, including the New York City public school system.
 
LS #4679/4767
5/16/13
11:50 a.m.
TC