MTA School Library Task Force

librarian and children

The MTA Task Force on Equity in PreK-12 School Libraries was the result of New Business Item #4, adopted by the MTA Annual Meeting of Delegates in May 2018.

The goals of the task force were to:

Sue Doherty, a librarian in the Needham Public Schools and chair of the MTA task force, said in the Winter 2019 edition of MTA Today that school librarians have grown increasingly alarmed as they have watched the steady erosion of student access to school libraries and the elimination of scores of certified librarian positions around the state, especially in lower‐income districts. A document produced by the MTA Education Policy and Practice Committee, “The Public Schools and Colleges Our Students Deserve,” notes that “every school should have a fully resourced library with a certified librarian and adequate support staff. The evidence is clear that school libraries staffed with certified librarians have a direct and measurable impact on students’ learning, reading comprehension and academic achievement and that these positive results are magnified for students in low-income communities of color.”

New Business Item #5, also approved at the 2018 MTA Annual Meeting, called for the MTA to endorse the recommendations of the Legislative Special Commission, which stated, “All students deserve equitable access to key resources for learning, including school library with certified librarians and support staff.” The special commission found many inequities in Massachusetts students’ access to well‐funded school library programs staffed by licensed librarians. New Business Item #5 also called on the MTA to promote the commission’s report and recommendations through established MTA digital and print channels, and for leaders of the MTA to send a letter of support for these recommendations to the DESE and members of the Massachusetts Legislature.