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Letter to Libraries Online
A Monthly Newsletter
from the Oregon State Library
State Library Board Met in Salem
The State Library Board met at the Oregon State Library in Salem on Wednesday, April 16, 2014. The Board discussed the meeting of the Emergency Board, which will take place on May 30th, and reviewed the 2015-2017 OSL budget process. The Board approved the idea to include the recommended changes to the Ready to Read grant program in the 2015-2017 OSL budget request to be submitted to the Governor in August. The Board also approved changing the name from Ready to Read to Reading for Success to align with the changes that broaden the program. The next Board meeting is currently scheduled for Friday, June 20, 2014, at the Monroe Community Library in Benton County.
New Resources Coming to the Statewide Database Licensing Program!
With completion of our new contract with Gale/Cengage Learning, the State Library is pleased to announce that several new resources will be added to the suite of databases offered through the SDLP. These resources will be available when the new contract begins in August 2014. More information will be distributed as the launch date approaches.
National Geographic Kids – includes access to recent National Geographic articles, books and images in a kid-friendly interface
Gale Virtual Reference Library (GVRL) content – 275 additional reference titles will be available
Please direct any questions to Arlene Weible, Electronic Resources Consultant, 503-378-5020.
New Interface for Kids InfoBits Coming this Month
Kids InfoBits is a Gale database specifically designed for students in grades K through 5. The Kids InfoBits interface has been redesigned, and Oregon libraries will be upgraded on May 5. After that date, links to Kids InfoBits on your website and on OSLIS will lead to the new version. While users can still drill down by topic or search by keywords to find information, the new interface is more modern and includes more features, like the ability to translate articles into 12 different languages. For those who want to preview, learn about, or promote the new Kids InfoBits, there are many resources available:
• Fact Sheet (PDF)
Questions? Need additional help? Please contact Jen Maurer, 503-378-5011.
Oregon's Letters About Literature Honorees Announced
On May 12th, the State Library will host an awards celebration to honor Oregon’s Letters About Literature contest winners. Local distinguished writer Rosanne Parry will kick off the event with a keynote address. Then, after receiving certificates and prizes, students will read their letters to the audience of family members and special guests. The contest objective was for students to write to an author of their choice, conveying how the book they read changed them or the way they view the world. Congratulations to our state’s honorees:
Level I (4th - 6th Grades)
Level II (7th & 8th Grades)
Level III (9th - 12th Grades)
There were also 137 semi-finalists, which included anyone who made it through the national screening but was not a winner, runner-up, or honorable mention in Oregon.
This annual reading and writing program is sponsored by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress. Thanks to the Oregon Reading Association and three divisions of the Oregon Library Association – Children’s Services Division, Oregon Young Adult Network, and Oregon Association of School Libraries; all were local cosponsors and helped fund the prizes. Also, thanks to the nine Oregon judges – a school librarian, public librarian, and author for each of the three levels – who devoted their time to reading the entries. Honorees’ transcribed letters will be posted on the Letters About Literature web page by the end of May. National winners are expected to be announced in early May. If you have questions about the contest, please contact Jennifer Maurer, School Library Consultant at the Oregon State Library.
Oregon School Library Staffing Levels Continue to Decline
The State Librarian has tracked the number of full-time equivalent (FTE) licensed school librarians employed in Oregon public schools since the 1980-81 school year. As of a few years ago, we also track the number of FTE school library support staff. Some of the figures are pulled from the Oregon Statewide Annual Report Card, and others are supplied by staff at the Oregon Department of Education (ODE). Here is a brief snapshot comparing the situation in 1980 to the last three school years:
The decline in school library staffing was noted on page 8 of the 2012-13 report card. “The sharpest decrease was among library and media specialists and support staff for the second year in a row, dropping over 9% from 2010-11 to 2011-12, then 8.3% from 2011-12 to 2012-13. Librarian FTE has decreased between 4 and 10 percent each year since 2009-10, for a total decrease of almost 20% between 2009-10 and 2012-13.” The majority of the sharp decrease in the last few school years is a result of Salem-Keizer and Beaverton school districts drastically cutting their school library programs. The Oregon library community is working to draw attention to the issue and to emphasize the value of strong school library programs. See the related article in this edition of the LTLO. Questions? Please contact Jennifer Maurer, School Library Consultant at the State Library.
Update about Strong School Library Programs & CIPs
In March, the State Library reported about developments around school districts having to account for “strong school library programs” in the continuous improvement plans (CIP) that they submit to the Oregon Department of Education every three years. An ad hoc committee of OLA, OASL, and OLA Legislative Committee members has formed to reach out to school districts. The goal is to share information with key individuals and organizations to help inform them about the inclusion of school libraries in CIPs and to point them to resources to help them develop their library programs. This would include sending letters to the superintendents whose district CIPs are due at the end of June, sending letters to select education service district personnel who often help draft CIPs, and perhaps posting a press release. Another arm of the strategy involves academic librarians or writing faculty meeting with superintendents to relate the effects of lack of information literacy skills on students as they navigate the higher education world. If you have questions or want to get involved, please contact Jennifer Maurer, the School Library Consultant at the State Library.
Oregon State Library
Government Research Services Manager: 503-378-5030, Margie Harrison.
Letter to Libraries Online is published monthly by the Oregon State Library. It is available free of charge and is published only in electronic form on the publications page on the Oregon State Library's homepage: http://www.oregon.gov/OSL.
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