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A conversation with kindergartners changed the course of Stephanie Gwinn's career three years ago. The Parkside Elementary School librarian in Grant Park was reading to students a book in which a character ate meat, a notion that struck the children as equally bizarre and horrifying.
One of our teachers received a grant to buy iPods to record her reading children’s books. She plans to share the recordings with her students so they can follow along with the stories. Although audio versions of the books can be purchased from iTunes, is this a fair use?
April is National School Librarians Month, and today is National Library Workers Day, bad timing for the American Association of School Administrators to report that 19 percent of school districts surveyed expect to cut librarians' jobs next year.
Rockwall High School librarian Nicole Redmond shows students in a family living class how to better explore resources on the Web in the library's computer lab.
Cuts couldn't come at a worse time, librarians and their advocates argue, because the close reading, critical thinking and research skills they teach are more important now than ever.
"The Internet and Google are wonderful tools, but it's all kind of a cut-and-paste mentality," said Gloria Meraz of the Texas Library Association in Austin. "There is such a fundamental need to continue to teach children to think critically."
Dallas News reports.
Via Times Live (South Africa): "On Human Rights Day, March 21, a Sunday, 10000 high school pupils marched through the centre of Cape Town in school uniform. They were children, predominantly of working-class origins, from all over the Western Cape, rural and urban, black and white. Not a rock or a bottle was thrown and they dispersed peacefully to the trains that had been arranged to take them home.
Sixteen years after democracy, our young people are calling for schools that work, for places where they may study and for materials that will help them read and learn. As the organisation Equal Education points out, fewer than 7% of schools in South Africa have a functioning library. Perhaps 21% have some kind of structure called a reading room, but these are usually used for classrooms, are seldom stocked properly and do not have a library professional in charge to ensure that the right books are there and that they are used properly. The lack of libraries compounds the many problems, such as teachers' poor subject knowledge and poor access to textbooks, that plague our schooling system. These factors combine to make our reading outcomes, at all grade levels, among the worst in Africa."
Changes in the way the federal government plans to allocate money to increase and improve literacy pose a severe threat to one of the country’s best-known nonprofit groups, Reading Is Fundamental.
Known commonly as RIF, the organization, which provides free books to needy children and has been promoted in memorable public service announcements by celebrities like Carol Burnett and Shaquille O’Neal, stands to lose all of its federal financing, which accounts for roughly 75 percent of its annual revenues.
“We are looking at having to completely reinvent ourselves,” said Carol Rasco, chief executive of RIF, which has received an annual grant from the Department of Education for 34 years.
Story from the New York Times.
A soft, but audible “hum” of student voices can be heard the moment you walk into the colorful, well-stocked library — and no shushing. Monache High School (CA) Media Center/Librarian Melissa Giannetto likes it that way.
“Today’s kids are used to iPods, cell phones and all kinds of electronic devices, most are not used to absolute quiet,” Giannetto said. “I don’t think that’s necessary as long as they are working together. And you can see that they are.”
Giannatto has been the librarian for three years, after spending 12 years in high school classrooms teaching English.
She is in her element in the library. “This is my dream job and I didn’t know it growing up,” she said, flashing her easy smile. “I love what I do.”
What she does is more than what she says may be the down side of her job, if there is a down side. The misconception that librarians sit at their computers all day doing research is one of those myths that needs to be dispelled, she said.
Included in her duties, and those of Porterville CA and Granite Hills high school librarians Lori Lienau and Catherine Mays, respectively, are managing the library/media center computer lab, helping teachers with their class schedules as they pertain to visiting her academic domain, teaching classes and scheduling college recruitment presentations, to name just a few things. Recorder Online.
Want to keep up on what's happening with efforts around the country to help save libraries? There's a great new site for that, appropriately named Save Libraries. Their motto is "When one library is in trouble, ALL libraries are in trouble." This project is being run by Lori Reed and Heather Braum. They can’t do this alone and are looking for additional help creating and maintaining the content on this site.
Save Libraries is a grassroots effort to compile information about libraries in need of our support. Save Libraries will aggregate information about current advocacy efforts, archive advocacy efforts, and provide links to resources for libraries facing cuts. The project began barely two weeks ago, and is already attracting attention.
Please email us at savelibs (at) gmail (dot) com for questions, comments, or concerns. Please tag your Web content with savelibraries to make it easier for us to find and collect it.
Kudos to none other than our own Blake Carver and LISHost.org for donating hosting for this site and getting WordPress up and running within minutes. This site is dedicated to advocacy for libraries–getting the message out about why libraries are important.
We’re looking for advocacy information, testimonials from patrons and staff, photos, videos, anything to help save our libraries. Please pitch in!! Use the tag savelibraries or #savelibraries on Twitter. If you would like to contribute to this site please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
It's next week! This theme for this annual event is "Communities Thrive". Here's what we've found for events around the country:
What's happening @ your library?
Members of the Ithaca City School District Board of Education seemed reluctant Tuesday to reduce the district's elementary school librarian positions by half as proposed in the 2010-11 budget.
Originally, three of eight full-time librarian positions were proposed to be cut, but Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction Connie Evelyn said she could not ensure equity among the eight elementary schools if there were five librarians, so a fourth position was proposed to be cut.
Librarians perform literacy instruction besides managing school libraries, Superintendent Judith Pastel said.
However, several board members said they could not get behind the cuts, which they feared could cause setbacks in district literacy efforts. A vote could not be taken at the meeting, which was posted as a budget workshop and not a voting meeting.
From School Library Journal: Q & A by recently laid-off librarian Sara Scribner, a (former) school librarian for the Pasadena Unified School District.
Scribner had recently penned a Los Angeles Times op-ed piece, "Saving the Google Students" which went viral and talked about how critical media specialists are in this digital age. We asked Scribner how her students—and society—would fare if librarians didn't exist.
When will you know if your position is terminated?
Right now, Pasadena has a parcel tax measure that is going up for a vote throughout the month of April and early May. It has to pass by a large margin, something like two-thirds of the people voting need to say yes to it. On May 5, we should know if it has passed or not. The word is that the librarians will go if it doesn't pass and that they will be saved if it does pass. That's the district speaking. What will happen in the end is anyone's guess. We might not know for sure until we leave for summer break, or even later.
What would the fate be of school libraries in Pasadena without librarians?
No one is willing to discuss what will happen if all of the district librarians are laid off. Since our school will be going through a major renovation next year, I'm going to guess that the library will be "mothballed." Lights out. No librarian. No books. No media lab.