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New Jersey School Librarian Numbers Dwindle [AUDIO]

The school librarian is much more than just a keeper of the book collection in many New Jersey districts. But, these “information specialists” have been dwindling in numbers, another victim of budget cuts.

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New Jersey School Boards Association Spokesman Mike Yaple says their survey shows 90 percent of Jersey school districts have had staff layoffs. Many were “outside the classroom.” He says, unfortunately, many of those staff cuts included school librarians. Yaple says many school boards around the state have been wrestling with the problems of school librarian retention for two or more years as they grapple with balancing ever-tightening school budgets.

The New Jersey Association of School Librarians says they counted 1115 members in 2010. They had 985 Librarian-members in 2011. That number is down to just over 900 this year. Spokeswoman Pat Massey says that’s unfortunate.

She says a certified school library media specialist is what she calls, “a really cost-effective way of increasing student achievement.”

Massey also cited a recent Rutgers study that took a look at school librarians in New Jersey school districts. She said it reaffirmed the value of New Jersey school librarians.

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