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'Crisis' Seen In State's Libraries

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The deterioration of libraries in California's public schools is jeopardizing education-reform efforts, a study by the state education department contends.

The report, "The Crisis in California School Libraries," notes that the state ranks below the national average in the size of its school library collections, and calls many of them "grossly out-of-date."

Citing state and federal education data, the document also points to a "substantial" decline in the number of California school librarians in recent years and says the state has the highest percentage of school libraries operating without state-certified librarians. The report faults state spending limits, reduced federal funding, and the reform movement's push to channel funds into other school improvements.

Calling libraries "the neglected stepchild of educational reform," the study recommends that the state commit more funding to such facilities, undertake efforts to increase the number of professional librarians, and develop a longe-range improvement plan.--dg

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