Promises, Promises? Or Restoration and Renaissance? Fifteen Brutal Years for School Libraries in British Columbia


  • Moira Ekdahl



British Columbia, BCTF, teacher-librarians, Supreme Court of Canada, restoration, staffing, ratios, non-enrolling


British Columbia teachers, through the offices of the BC Teachers’ Federation (BCTF) and often through their own time on the picket lines, have fought for fifteen years to get back the negotiated language that contractually defined the working conditions of teachers, including specialist or non- enrolling teachers such as teacher-librarians. This paper documents the struggles that took the case all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada where, in November of 2016, in just minutes, the teachers’ rights were affirmed and the BC Liberal government’s actions in stripping the negotiated contract language were determined to be illegal. Staffing lost was to be restored. For teacher-librarians, easily the hardest hit teacher group, the decision seemed to offer a breath-taking relief after years of progressively deeper cuts. At the time of writing, believing in the imminent full restoration of staffing to re-define the work of teacher-librarians and in a glorious re-birth of the place of the school library in public education in BC appears to be unrealistic.






IN PERSON | IASL 2022 Strand B: Research Forum