TRURO – Despite the addition of volunteers to help with school libraries, it’s still a struggle to maintain the service to local students, say school board members.
A report to the Chignecto-Central Regional School Board from its education services department on Wednesday night indicated more volunteers are being trained to help in school libraries in light of the reduction of full-time equivalent library positions at the beginning of the school year.
Seven library volunteer training sessions recently took place that included 55 volunteers from 14 schools, including Truro, Tatamagouche, Bible Hill Central, North River, Chignaois and Debert elementary schools in addition to Harmony Heights. More training sessions are planned for this month.
Scott Milner, director of education services, told the Truro Daily News the loss of professional librarians in the schools has been difficult as anticipated.
“(Schools) are struggling. The transition has been difficult and challenging,” acknowledged Milner. “We are missing that expertise (of trained librarians) but we appreciate volunteers.”
During the school board meeting on Wednesday, school board member Wendy Matheson-Withrow said it’s not been a good situation.
“Things are not running smoothly … Half of our children are receiving (library services) and the teachers are already taxed” with numerous responsibilities, said Matheson-Withrow.
There are 21 library staff (17.90 full-time equivalents) providing library services to 30 schools, seven that are in the Cobequid family of schools, most of which are located in Colchester County. Most of the services are in high schools.
Milner said library services will again be a part of this year’s budget deliberations. He said it’s too early to know whether or not there will be more cuts to library services.