“The Books-for-Schools” program delivers a complimentary earth science book to each of Ventura County public schools. These books are being donated to the public schools thanks to generous funding made available by American Petroleum Institute (API), California Coastal Chapter. API is a nonprofit organization of oil and gas professionals.
Ventura County local gem and mineral societies are administrating “The Books-for-Schools” program through their Tri-Club Education Committee. An avowed goal of these organizations is to promote and extend the knowledge of earth science and an appreciation of our earth, in general. “We decided to use our knowledge of earth science to help our local public school libraries”, says Donna Knapton, of the Tri-County Education committee.
Currently, California does not have designated school library funding. Consequently, California has ranked near the last in the country for school library funding. This has resulted in a limited number of books per children in schools, a reduced number of librarians, and, in some cases, local schools without an operating school library. But many education policymakers don’t actually know what good teacher librarians do, school library advocates claim, so library programs are especially vulnerable to budget cuts when the state backs cash-strapped schools into tight fiscal corners such as the ones they’re in now.
According to the California Department of Education, “California public schools with strong school library programs outperform those without such programs on the state’s STAR tests. This is true regardless of the school community’s parent education and poverty levels, ethnicity, and percentage of English language learners. The bottom line? It’s about equity. Strong school libraries help give our students the best chance to succeed.”