Delaware funding infusion will connect more school libraries to state system

The Delaware Library catalog is connecting with Delaware school libraries to provide greater access to resources for Delaware students and Delaware teachers

Modernization, more new arrivals, and connecting school libraries to the Delaware Library Catalog will be made possible utilizing $1 million in the state operating budget. 

The goal is to expand on a pilot program begun in the Colonial School District, where the new investment was announced at the William Penn High School Innovation Center.

As a former high school principal at schools at both ends of the state, Delaware Secretary of Education Dr. Mark Holodick said he often felt that "the heartbeat of the school should be the library. That's where, when kids walk in in the morning, they want to go."

According to State Librarian Dr. Annie Norman, the goal is to connect more school libraries and open the door - figuratively to the State Library Catalog and its 2.5 million books and items of e-media.

"If a student or a teacher is in a school library and they see something or they need something that's not in the school library and they see that it's held by another library in the state, they can request it," Norman said. "Through our delivery system, it will be delivered to the school library."

The item can also be returned at the school from which it was borrowed, and it will be returned to its source library to be borrowed by others.

“We know that a great school library can take students, their teachers, and an entire school to the next level when it comes to achievement and building community,” House Majority Leader State Representative Valerie Longhurst, (D-Bear) said. “These resources will help unlock the potential of school libraries across the state and give school librarians the tools they need to do what they do best – spark curiosity and foster a love of learning in our students.”

Longhurst managed to secure the funding in this year's budget bill. It will also provide school librarians with training in how to better modernize library collections and allocate resources to moving resources between libraries. Seasonal staff may also be employed to help school librarians "migrate" to the state catalog.

“In the Colonial School District, we believe in the ‘Power of We’ and the importance of partnerships. In 2016, Colonial began an important partnership thanks to Rep. Longhurst that transformed libraries in our district. Working with Dr. Norman and her amazing team at the Delaware Division of Libraries, we reimagined our spaces and developed much needed library systems including collection data reporting,” Colonial School District supervisor of educational technology and libraries Tom Gavin said. “Unfortunately, most school districts in Delaware lack the needed expertise and support that the Division of Libraries can provide. Thanks to this new investment, school districts and Delaware libraries will now have the ability to partner together to collaboratively improve school libraries statewide.”

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