The Delaware Library Association (DLA), with assistance from EveryLibrary.org, recently conducted a survey of all candidates running for seats in the Delaware General Assembly to gauge their support for school and public libraries.
School librarians help guide the reading interests and abilities of students and teach research and other information and technology skills. As of the 2020-2021 academic year, Delaware ranks 46 out of 51 states and D.C. in the number of full-time librarians and 32 out of 51 states and D.C. for the number of students per librarian. There are fewer school librarians instructing more students.
The State recognizes the importance of early literacy; DLA thanks them for funding the statewide Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library Initiative, which sends free books in the mail to children under the age of 5 years old. Yet, public library budgets to purchase books, media, ebooks/e-audiobooks, and databases remained essentially flat between FY 2010 and FY 2021, and the cost to provide these materials continues to increase.
The DLA Candidate Questionnaire was launched to inform the public about where their candidates stand on these school and public library issues. With a survey response rate of 40%, respondents overwhelmingly expressed their support for school and public libraries. Respondents represented a mix of candidates including both Republicans and Democrats seeking House and Senate seats.
Selected and summarized responses include:
Responses to DLA Legislative Candidate Survey
DLA Legislative Candidate Survey – Graphics
Reported by Catherine Wimberley, Chair of the DLA Legislative Action Committee. Address any questions or comments to her at catherinewimberley.dla AT gmail.com.