School Libraries

Three Out of Eight Becomes Four Out of Eight Positions Cut for Ithaca School Librarians

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.

Why School Librarians Shouldn't Get The Pink Slip

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.

Protecting School Libraries

Years of evidence-based research demonstrates the positive impact of school libraries on student achievement in the United States, yet school libraries and media specialists continue to be a target of cuts and closures. A 2006 study also demonstrated the contribution of school libraries to student success in Delaware.
You can read the Delaware report and more at the Delaware Division of Libraries blog

South African Schools Lacking In Libraries and Money

The majority of schools do not have libraries and it will cost a staggering R2,2-billion to build one in each school, to stock it with books and to pay the salaries of librarians for 10 years, says the civil society group Equal Education (EE).

"It is shocking. It really goes to the heart of the South African education crisis," said the EE's Doron Isaacs.

The lack of libraries significantly contributed to the poor grasp of literacy and numeracy among millions of South African pupils, he said.

"Many Grade 1s will arrive at school and for the entire year they will only get to read about three or four books, whereas children in (former) model C schools will have two to three library books in their bags every day from Grade one," he added.

LA Unified School District to Eliminate All Certified Librarians

All certified school librarians in the Los Angeles Unified School District will lose their positions next school year if efforts to close the district’s $640 million budget shortfall fail.

Full story at School Library Journal

Embezzlement or Cash Advances? NY Librarian Due in Court

Record Online reports: (Upstate NY) TUXEDO - Town police said a former librarian in the Tuxedo School District embezzled more than $12,000 from the district’s teachers union while serving as its president and treasurer. Police said Teresa E. Haslam, 45, of Chester, issued herself 20 checks and one electronic transfer from the union’s account between November 2008 and May 2009, when she left the district. According to the union, all but $645.98 has been repaid.

Haslam, who’s charged with grand larceny, a felony, turned herself in Wednesday. She was issued an appearance ticket and is due back in Town Court on March 18.

Retaining School Librarians through Mentoring

Retaining Librarians through Mentoring
Henrico County (Va.) Public Schools (HCPS) noticed that the district’s newly hired librarians had a substantial (56%) turnover rate. In 2004, a voluntary mentoring system emerged within the district that encouraged seasoned librarians to reach out to new hires. By the 2005 school year, an official long-distance mentoring program was launched pairing those new to the job with established librarians in other schools. Co-coordinators Joyce Ricks, librarian at Twin Hickory Elementary, and Susan Howe, librarian at Tuckahoe Middle School, spearheaded the program, which was christened Collaborative Partners.

School librarian, man charged with running pot farm

School librarian, man charged with running pot farm
A Chicago public school librarian and another person were charged with running a marijuana growing operation out of a home they owned in the South Deering neighborhood, officials said today.

Parent Has a Problem with "Pants" Books for Teens

A citizen of the Fond du Lac School District has added more books to a list she wants banned from the schools.

The school district has scheduled a reconsideration hearing for 6:30 p.m. today at Fond du Lac High School to hear public comment on Ann Wentworth's request to have the book "One of Those Hideous Books Where the Mother Dies" by Sonya Sones taken off the shelves of Fond du Lac school libraries.

The popular young adult book is being challenged by Wentworth as inappropriate for students of middle school age. In addition, Wentworth is asking the district to review the following six library books at Theisen Middle School:

# "Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants" by Ann Brashares.
# "The Second Summer of the Sisterhood" by Ann Brashares.
# "Girls in Pants "The Third Summer of the Sisterhood" by Ann Brashares.
# "Forever in Blue: The Fourth Summer of the Sisterhood" by Ann Brashares.
# "Get Well Soon" by Julie Halpern.
# "What My Mother Doesn't Know" by Sonya Sones.

Several interested persons have signed up to speak at Thursday's hearing. The district reconsideration committee will be asked to begin scheduling dates to review the other six books in question. Each book will be considered individually, according to the Fond du Lac School District.

Fond du Lac Reporter has the story.

School Librarians...They're Not Just 'Hanging Out @ The Library'

Librarian Cathy Collins writes in the Santa Rosa, CA Press Democrat: I have worked in public schools for 14 years now, just “hanging out in the library,” as one Santa Rosa trustee recently summed it up, with students in grades pre-K through 12.

Unfortunately, the role of a school librarian is frequently misunderstood. Like custodians, cafeteria workers and campus security staff, much of our work takes place behind the scenes. Though school librarians have master's level training in best educational practices, we are not assigned official classes, nor do we test or grade students.

The way I see it, every student is my student. I am responsible for ensuring that every student I serve graduates with highly developed critical thinking skills, an appreciation for literature and the knowledge of how to effectively locate and evaluate information from both print and electronic sources. In a nutshell, I am a specialist in information literacy. School librarians collaborate with teachers, administrators and staff to ensure that students are efficient and effective users of ideas and information.

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