The New Jersey Association of School Librarians (NJASL) is thrilled to announce that on November 21 the New Jersey Senate unanimously approved S588 in its third reading. After clearing the Senate 36-0 and the Assembly 61-8 the bill now moves on to Governor Murphy for his signature. This bipartisan bill was sponsored by Assembly members Dan Benson, Pamela Lampitt, and Mila Jasey, Senators Michael Testa and Shirley Turner. The organization is hopeful that Governor Murphy will sign the bill before Jan. 1, 2023.
A4169/S588 would direct the State Board of Education to adopt New Jersey Student Learning Standards in information literacy. Information literacy content would include:
- The research process and how information is created and produced;
- Critical thinking and using information resources;
- Research methods, including the difference between primary and secondary sources;
- The difference between facts, points of view, and opinion;
- Accessing peer-reviewed print and digital library resources;
- The economic, legal, and social issues surrounding the use of information; and
- the ethical production of information.
This legislation has been in the works since 2016. NJASL extends its gratitude to a coalition of partners who have made this progress possible: New Jersey Library Association (where the bill had its first origins), EveryLibrary, New Jersey Education Association, Media Literacy Now, Garden State Coalition of Schools, Save Our Schools NJ, New Jersey Principals and Supervisors Association, New Jersey Association of School Administrators, New Jersey School Boards Association, Computer Science For New Jersey Coalition and the New Jersey State School Nurses Association.
“I’m pleased that this bill is now law. Online data can be misleading and manipulative, so it is crucial for students to learn to verify the information they find,” said Senator Michael R. Testa. “Teaching information literacy in the bill will allow children to research efficiently, determine the legitimacy of those sources – wherever they are found – and understand how to separate fact from fiction. Thank you to the coalition of educators and parents for their support to see this bill signed into law.”
The New Jersey Association of School Librarians (NJASL) is the only statewide organization for school librarians in New Jersey. NJASL believes that every student in every New Jersey school deserves to be taught by a State certified full-time School Library Media Specialist supported by a resource-rich school library program. School librarians are essential partners in curriculum delivery and college and career readiness. They are leaders in the integration of technology, information and digital literacies, and the professional development for school staff.