Several school districts proposing to eliminate all of its secondary teacher-librarian positions


Vancouver: Cuts to school library programs should be a warning for BC parents, much like the canary in the coal mine, says BC Teacher-Librarians’ Association Vice-President Jeff Yasinchuk. The Coquitlam School District, which currently has teacher-librarian positions at over 65 schools, has proposed reducing its budget line item for teacher-librarian staffing to zero.

“Libraries and literacy are at the heart of public education,” Yasinchuk says, “and they are under attack once again. In the Coquitlam School District, over 30,000 students will be impacted. Many may no longer have access to the same learning opportunities as students in other districts.”

The Coquitlam School District is one of several districts proposing cuts to school librarian positions. The Nanaimo Board of Education is also contemplating cuts, proposing to eliminate all of its secondary teacher-librarian positions in order to meet its budget shortfall for next year.

“School librarians are teachers and literacy experts,” says Yasinchuk. “Imagine a math classroom without a math teacher. It should follow that we wouldn’t stand for school libraries without teacher-librarians.”

The BC Teacher-Librarians’ Association took the step of speaking publicly this past weekend, after its annual Spring Council Meeting where members unanimously endorsed a campaign to demonstrate the true cost of losing professionally staffed school libraries.

Yasinchuk notes that the effect of these cuts will mean a further erosion of public education: “Is this the best literacy strategy the BC Liberal government can produce?”