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Anglophone East DEC Member Concerned About Loss Of Libraries

By Tara Clow Oct 19, 2022 | 1:21 PM

Ines Hegedus-Garcia / CC

An Anglophone East District Education Council member wants libraries for all schools.

Kristin Cavoukian says at least three, including Edith Cavell, have lost their libraries because they’ve been turned into classrooms.

This is due to a huge jump in enrollment in the District.  The number of students grew by over 1100 this school year in Anglophone East.

She introduced a motion at this week’s District Education Council, stating, “The Superintendent be directed to (A) conduct an inventory of all schools in the district that have had their libraries taken away, and report the results of the inventory to November’s DEC meeting and (B) take steps to reestablish libraries in most schools by the 2023/2024 school year. Further, the Superintendent be directed to immediately reclassify libraries as essential school infrastructure on par with gymnasiums.”

Cavoukian says letting libraries slip away, will also mean the same for literacy.

She feels, “If we’re not putting desks in a gym, but we are putting desks in a library,  that says a lot about our priorities. We’re not a YMCA,  we’re a School District.  I think gyms are vital, I think libraries are vital. When we’re thinking about crowding and enrollment numbers, and where classrooms are going to go, libraries cannot be on the chopping block.”

Fellow DEC member Dominic Vautour agreed there is an importance of literacy and libraries in schools, “But right now we are facing a situation where we have nowhere to put these kids in these schools. Our schools are bursting at the seams. To me, it is more essential to have kids in the building than to have the library. From what I’ve seen from the schools that I’ve been to, from the PSSC’s I have spoken to, the teachers and the Principals are making it work. They have library replacements, so to speak, the books never left the schools. They’re still there, and they’re still accessible by the kids.”

But Cavoukian responds that at Edith Cavell, the books are in a closet and are not accessible to kids.

“Libraries are not just books, libraries are Librarians who help kids find books that they might otherwise never know about. Classes are taken to the library once a week, and they’re allowed to browse around and take back books and get books.  The Librarians maintain the books, stock the books and organize the books and order new books. So a library is not just a dusty collection of books. It’s an information resource, and it provides imagination and innovation and information to our kids,” Cavoukian adds.

She also pointed out public libraries can’t fill the gap, because parents don’t have time on the weekends to take their kids, and most are closed on Sundays.

“I was lucky enough to attend a delightful book sale at school just the other day, Scholastic. I remember as a kid, how exciting it was to get that catalogue. I also remember how disappointing it was to be the only kid who didn’t get a book. And this time, I saw that disappointment on more faces than I didn’t see. There are students out there whose families are really struggling and can’t afford to buy a single discretionary book. So our libraries are more vital than they’ve ever been,” Cavoukian stated.

Anglophone East Superintendent Randy MacLEAN agreed to take a look at the schools without libraries to find out how they are making books accessible to the students.


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