Librarians Not Required

I was floored after reading the first two paragraphs of this article from The Tennessean. Apparently, some schools, under law, don\'t have to have school librarians.
\"At the Dodson Branch Elementary School in Jackson County, pupils can surf the World Wide Web but can\'t go to a school librarian to check out a library book.

The school does not have a full-fledged library, nor a librarian, and it\'s not alone. In Tennessee, elementary schools with fewer than 400 students are not required to hire librarians or acquire as many books for students.\"

\"State Sen. Charlotte Burks, D-Monterey, whose district includes the 180-student school, says that\'s unacceptable, when Gov. Don Sundquist is promoting a reading initiative.

\'\'The school has computers, but that\'s not the same as kids taking a book home with them,\'\' Burks said yesterday during a Senate Education Committee meeting.

\'\'In this state, I didn\'t know we had schools without libraries. If we\'re going to be concerned about reading, we need to make sure children have access to books.\'\'

\"County school systems rely largely on local funds, so they determine what resources are available and specify how they are allocated.\"

\"At the meeting, state Education Commissioner Vernon Coffey outlined the governor\'s proposal to promote reading and improve teacher quality.

\"He told Burks that several of the state\'s smallest schools do not have libraries.

\'\'That\'s just a shame,\'\' Burks said afterward. \'\'I told the people there I would help them with fund-raisers to buy books. But I think the state should provide resources for our children.\'\'

\"Almost three years ago, the K-8 school outside Cookeville, Tenn., in rural Jackson County expanded its building. For the first time, the school designated a room as a library.\"

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