Amid a Literacy Crisis, Michigan’s School Librarians Have All But Disappeared
Note: The article also includes a database certified library specialists in Michigan public schools during the 2018-2019 school year.
School librarians have become an endangered species across the state [of Michigan]. Consider:
- 92% of schools statewide don’t employ a full-time, certified librarian. Even if you count part-time librarians, the numbers hardly budge.
- The number of school librarians in Michigan declined 73% between 2000 and 2016, one of the sharpest declines in the country. The national count dropped roughly 20% during that period.
- Michigan ranks 47th in the country in the number of librarians it has per student.
Michigan’s rapid loss of school librarians makes it one of the more extreme examples of a national trend. American schools are in the midst of a reckoning about the role of libraries in schools. While most adults in the U.S. went to a school with a dedicated librarian, there are far fewer working in schools today, the result of an economic downturn and a growing sense that digital technologies would render books, library reference systems, and librarians obsolete.
About Gary Price
Gary Price (email@example.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. He earned his MLIS degree from Wayne State University in Detroit. Price has won several awards including the SLA Innovations in Technology Award and Alumnus of the Year from the Wayne St. University Library and Information Science Program. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com.