MSLA colour logo.jpg.pngManitoba School Library Association
307 Shaftesbury Blvd.
Winnipeg, MB R3P 0L9

mlsapastpresident@gmail.com

March 12, 2021

Mr. Allan Campbell

Chair of the Board, Interlake School Division

192 2nd Ave N

Stonewall, MB  R0C 2Z0

Dear Mr. Campbell,

The executive of the Manitoba School Library Association (MSLA) recently learned that the Interlake School Division released a draft budget that calls for a reduction of library staffing positions to save a possible $82,000.  As library professionals, we would like to voice our disappointment with this decision, and call for the school board to reverse it.

Properly funded and staffed school libraries are essential in ensuring successful student literacy outcomes and they directly support student understanding of all curricular areas.  Well supported school libraries cultivate in students a love of reading, innovative thinking, collaboration, active learning, appropriate technology use, and creative and complex problem solving. These skills are explicitly named by the World Economic Forum as being among the top 10 employability skills for 2025.

Additionally, library staff ensure that school library resources are diverse, supportive of school/divisional goals, high quality, linked to curricula, maintained and perhaps most importantly, that they are expertly curated for individual student learning needs. Removing qualified library staff from school libraries will result in school libraries becoming outdated, unused and disorderly. Opportunities for students to become literate citizens will be lessened.

In closing, MSLA wishes to emphasize our support for a robust, well supported Library Learning Commons that provides the opportunity for students to develop the necessary skills for success as they move toward their futures. The executive members of MSLA would like to extend our gratitude to you for considering our concerns and hope that the Interlake School Division will instead consider areas for cost savings that will not have a negative impact on children in the classroom.

Sincerely,

Brandi Bartok

President, Manitoba School Library Association