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Highlighting one student’s call for school library advocacy January 18, 2012

Posted by Wendy Stephens in Advocacy.

An Ohio high school senior tasked with a school reform assignment turned his attention to the ongoing crisis in school libraries. Jonathon Roy’s research assignment for language arts teacher Jessica Gerber at Mount Gilead High School uncovered the body of research affirming the value of well-trained school librarians and includes a plan to fill a mandate for highly qualified school librarians.

The entire class crafted research project and presentations on topics related to school reform. While other students tackled issues like GLBT rights and school uniform policies, Jonathon chose to highlight the plight of school librarians in the era of drastic budget cuts. He turned up more than sixty studies demonstrating the clear relationship between school libraries and student achievement.

Jonathon, who has helped in the library at his school since his sophomore year and participates in the Philosophy Club organized by librarian Deb Logan, stresses that his local program is different from what many might expect. His school’s program focuses on skills like determining the credibility of online sources and how to properly formulate citations, the sort of integrated instruction which Jonathon found typifies today’s school libraries. Jonathon emphasizes that these are “helpful thing you will actually use.”

His research included a polling component using SurveyMonkey, seeking input from his respondents about their experiences with and attitudes towards libraries. Jonathon found many adults and student aren’t aware of the dire predicaments many libraries find themselves in and don’t realize the instructional potential of school libraries.

Jonathon’s paper concludes with an action plan for shifting textbook and other monies to fund credentialed librarians in every building. He provided a link to the latest White House petition for his classmates on a bookmark in a call for student advocacy. “As students, we should get more involved and stand out and say we really enjoy the library and not let it fall through the cracks,” said Jonathon, who was captain of the cross country team this year and is active in Mount Gilead High School’s theater program and show choir. He has not chosen a college yet but plans on studying psychology.


1. Connie Williams - January 18, 2012

Well said, Jonathon!

2. Kara White - January 19, 2012

We need and want competent librarians in our schools!

3. Richard Moore - January 19, 2012

Nice Shirt and tie!

4. Annette Scherr - January 19, 2012

Jonathon: Thank you for your support. If more students spoke out about campus issues, school would be a more relevant place for students. It is YOUR FUTURE at stake.

5. Floyd Pentlin - January 19, 2012

This is absolutely the kind of advocacy we need from outside the profession itself. Nicely and and nicely reported.

6. Basya Karp - January 19, 2012

Thank you, Jonathon, for your valuable contribution.

7. Marcy - January 19, 2012

Are you willing to share your research findings?

8. Joey - January 19, 2012

I work as a school librarian in NYC, but I was born and raised in Ohio. Kudos to Jonathan for helping to raise awareness of our plight.

9. carla.shank - January 22, 2012

His study and research is to be commended. One of the problems we face is the removal of library technicians. All of these duties such as circultion, shelving and data entry were expected of the librarian in each school;thereby doubling the workload, so that a skeleton operation resulted. There is no time to teach about data bases nor to provide instructions in on-line resources;so I hope with his student advocacy the budgets can be re-arranged so as to include clerical help and free the librarians to do the jobs they were trained for.

10. cindy - January 23, 2012

Wow Jonathon you make me proud!! Aunt Cindy

11. Bob - January 25, 2012

If Jonathan’s any kind of an example, then the future of thr profession’s in good hands.

12. sonia laudi - January 27, 2012

How did you become so wise at such a young age?
Make sure your research gets out …hopefully to the people who control the money. Thanks for your efforts.

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