New Investment Coming to School Libraries Across Delaware

The Delaware Division of Libraries will connect more than 70 libraries with the Delaware Library Catalog.

Students will gain greater access to quality books through school libraries across Delaware with a $1 million state investment announced Tuesday by House Majority Leader Valerie Longhurst and officials from the Delaware Library Consortium.

The funds, allocated to the Delaware Division of Libraries in this year’s state operating budget, will be used to integrate school libraries with the Delaware Library Catalog. This statewide library system links more than 70 libraries across the state to share resources and provide library users with the greatest possible access to books and materials, regardless of where they may be housed.

“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,” said Rep. Longhurst, who secured the funding in this year’s budget bill. “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.”

The new investment is an expansion of a pilot program championed by Rep. Longhurst and State Librarian Dr. Annie Norman to connect school libraries in the Colonial School District to the Delaware Library Catalog, broadening students’ access to materials outside the walls of their own school libraries.

“Rep. Longhurst’s leadership is instrumental in launching the first state initiative to address school libraries,” said Dr. Norman. “Connecting the school libraries to the statewide Delaware Library Catalog achieves the ‘last mile’ in ensuring equity of access for all Delaware children, regardless of whether they are taken to a public library.”

In addition, the new funding will provide school librarians with training on how to better modernize library collections and allocate resources to transporting materials between libraries. The funds can also be used to employ seasonal staff to help school librarians migrate to the statewide catalog.

“Connecting Delaware public schools to the Delaware Library Catalog will provide seamless and convenient access to information for thousands of Delawareans, which will support them for school, work, and throughout their lives,” said Secretary of State Jeff Bullock, whose department includes the Division of Libraries.

“This funding will help our school librarians better collaborate with the state system to ultimately serve our students better,” said Secretary of Education Dr. Mark Holodick. “By removing materials that are outdated and better cataloging current and popular ones to make them more accessible to our students, our school libraries will become even stronger resource centers for our students.”

The Delaware Library Catalog was first launched in 2006 and went statewide in 2010. It includes all Delaware public libraries as well as academic, special, and a few school libraries so far. Currently more than 70 libraries are sharing 2.5 million books and eMedia, promoting equity of access, improved literacy rates and lifelong learning.

“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,” said Tom Gavin, supervisor of educational technology and libraries for the Colonial School District. “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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