Thursday, April 12, 2007

Library Referendum - Fact and Fiction - Part 5

On 12/22/04, Kitty Pope, Executive Director of the Alliance Library System (based along Rt. 74 in East Peoria) wrote in a “Letter to the Editors to and published by the JSEB stating, “Research confirms that the most dependable predictor of high student achievement scores is a school library supported by a trained librarian. Colorado researcher Keith Curry Lance recently completed the Illinois Study which confirms a direct correlation between a school library program and high test scores.”

The most effective step that a school can take is to assure that all students have access to a school library rich in resources ands supported with a knowledgeable school librarian. This will guarantee better test scores for our children.

On 2/04/06 the JSEB wrote that Peoria Public School District #150 Superintendent Ken Hinton said he would like to incorporate city libraries in the two schools being planned at Harrison Homes and on the East Bluff. The JSEB says “Which government – the library or District 150 – will pay to build the libraries? Which will staff them and supply them with books? How will security be managed to keep the kids safe during the school day, while providing access to library patrons? Will the library be a free-standing building or under the same roof as the new schools?” Hinton said “We don’t know how it can be done but it is worth trying.”

I know that all Peoria Public Schools have libraries. It is my belief that the district cut back on competent school librarians ( not true I found out. All are certified but they receive no funding for assistants and all are friendly, helpful people) and I believe that most school libraries close at approximately 2:30 P.M. When I was a mentor at Blaine-Sumner, I tried to take my kids to the library only to find it locked. Only place open to mentor that had any interest to the kids was the gym.

A year later, Hinton is saying the same thing. The JSEB says this is the kind of intergovernmental cooperation that can be a win-win for all involved, and central Illinoisans should demand more of it. I agree.

Note that Hinton said “city” libraries. Speaking as a tax-paying citizen of the City of Peoria, I highly suggest that the City of Peoria consider taking over the Peoria Public Library system rather than just funding it. My six year intense observation of the Peoria Public Library system indicates that a drastic change is needed before the Council decides to tell the property taxpayers to come up with the $35,000,000.00 requested of the already overburdened taxpayer.

I suspect that enough hype and half-truths have been expended for the voter to pass this advisory referendum. It is my hope that the Council does its thorough homework before making a $35 million decision.

I note the Library spokespeople have said that can spend this money without increasing overhead and costs to operate and maintain. Do you believe that and have you heard that before? Hmmmm.

Look for at least one more post before the election as I have some more research to do starting this afternoon before the County Board meeting which usually starts at 6:00 P.M. I will be there early to congratulate the new graduates of the County's Leadership Program. See you there, fourth floor at 5 and fifth floor at 6.

4 comments:

Brad Carter said...

A council member has been looking for input on the library issue. I told him to mark my household down as no. He said 2 for no, and 0 for yes. Hopefully, people get educated on this issue. Thanks for doing the research on this subject. (I was voting no before you posted, now I have more reasons)

BeanCounter said...

"Colorado researcher Keith Curry Lance recently completed the Illinois Study which confirms a direct correlation between a school library program and high test scores.”

Arrrgh I hate when people abuse statistics. Correlation does not equal Causation. As ice cream sales increase so does the number of rapes. Should we ban ice cream? No because ice cream doesn't cause rapes, both activities just happen to peak in the summer. People need to remember the classic "Figures don't lie but liars can figure."

Anonymous said...

Maybe the County should take over the Library - that's makes about as much sense as the County running a nursing home!

Merle Widmer said...

Roger,

That's one thing we agree on. No one will find me on record of being a strong supporter of Bellwood but it did take me two years for me to figure that out. Not much chance of divesture because we don't have much support from other board members.Why do you think my opponent had a symbol of Bellwood on her brochure. It was to say she supported while I didn't. As long as the County owns Bellwood, I will support it but my vote is still only one 18.

Beancounter,

Yes, I believe in good libraries in schools that are open after school hours and manned by a trained competent librarian. With the library close to the learning center makes sense to me.

I do see a causation in the rising number of kids who do nothing after school but look for ways to get in trouble. To use libraries kids need to learn the value of all this information and these values have to be sold to them in the classroom; otherwise, many of them don't appreciate the value of libraries. Its easier to do nothing, learn to be a street bum or steal or sell drugs.

Maybe schools should make "Studs Lonigan" mandated reading. I don't believe you will find this book in any school library because by today's standards it would be called a "dirty book". I have read the book several times and find no erotica in this book, just a sad tale of wasted youth.