School libraries play a critical role in our schools and communities. School librarians and library assistants support student achievement by providing research help, digital learning opportunities and professional development programs in addition to providing the traditional library services to help prepare strong students. We know when spending for school libraries increases, so does improved student literacy. Numerous studies have shown the impact a school library and a teacher-librarian have on a school environment and student achievement in reading and writing and even math.
Access to a school library is an equity issue as our most racially diverse and lowest income communities have the least access to library services. Graduation rates and reading and math achievement are significantly higher in schools with high-quality libraries and certified librarians, even after controlling for other factors like school spending, class size, and poverty.
NSEA was an organizational sponsor last session of SB191 to require library space and materials as well as library services in every school. NSEA applauds Senator Dondero Loop for continuing this important advocacy. NSEA represents 65 library assistants in the Washoe County School District who provide important library services to students. SB191 allows for existing library assistants to continue in their role until 2027, avoiding the specter of layoffs that would only work against the goal of promoting access to library service. NSEA would ask for consideration of an amendment to this bill to include support for library assistants with access to important professional development through available library science programs.