Twenty librarians in the Ogden School District could be out of a job.
The twenty Library Media Specialists were called to a mandatory meeting on Friday morning where they were told that their contracts won’t be renewed and their positions will no longer exist starting July 1.
According to the superintendent, Ogden School District entered the 2012-2013 school year with a $2.7 million deficit. He said they’ve avoided cutbacks in past years, but they finally have to do it this year.
In 2012, Martin Richard, the 8-year-old Dorchester boy who was killed in the marathon explosions, marched at Boston’s City Hall to call for peace.
Richard’s second-grade class was there to “express themselves in a positive manner and become more engaged in the politics of the city,” according to a Boston.com story about the march.
The school says it is grieving for Martin and his family. It released his statement and identified Martin’s mother, another victim of the bombing, as a school librarian:
The Neighborhood House Charter School is mourning today the loss of our beloved student Martin Richard, during the tragic events at the Boston Marathon yesterday. He was a bright, energetic young boy who had big dreams and high hopes for his future. We are heartbroken by this loss.
We are also praying for his mother, Denise, our school librarian and sister Jane, another Neighborhood House Charter student, who were seriously injured yesterday. Our thoughts are with his father, Bill Richard, and older brother, Henry. They are a wonderful family and represent the very best this city has to offer.
Slashdot's great headline "Internet-Deprived Kids Turning To 'McLibraries' 315" for This WSJ Article on the digital divide was great.... "In many communities, after the library and the computer lab close for the night, there is often only one place to turn for students without internet access at home: the local McDonald's."
Please tell the Obama Administration that librarians are important to us and that one should be present in every school.
Certified school librarians are trained to guide students through different forms of information, teach them how to navigate various technologies and, of course, help them to discover great literature and to foster a love of reading.
Studies have shown (e.g. Pennsylvania School Library Project) that students in schools with a full-time librarian have better outcomes than students in schools with no librarian. Although links may not be posted here, more research can be found with a simple google search.
Unfortuanately, many schools are eliminating librarians as a cost saving measure because their positions are not mandated by the state or federal government.
The indefatigable team at The Star Beacon reports that the embattled Ashtabula Area City School District is cutting library staff and more to keep the district financially solvent as the school year continues and an emergency operating levy request goes on the May Primary ballot for district voters to decide. The pseudonymous comments bear reading as to examples of hurdles any public agency faces in seeking funding to offset rising costs and declining budgets.
Like many of his third-grade classmates, Mario Cortez-Pacheco likes reading the “Magic Tree House” series, about a brother and a sister who take adventurous trips back in time. He also loves the popular “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” graphic novels.
But Mario, 8, has noticed something about these and many of the other books he encounters in his classroom at Bayard Taylor Elementary here: most of the main characters are white. “I see a lot of people that don’t have a lot of color,” he said.
Neighborhoods with high poverty rates have lower test scores. Education is affected by lack of access to resources. Libraries and their staff (both in schools and out of schools) are part of those resources that can help bridge the achievement gap between rich and poor students. Working-class children hear 10 million words before they enter kindergarten compared to the 30 million that kids with professional parents hear. That initial vocabulary gap is predictive of reading comprehension in high school (Beth Fertig "Why Can't U Teach Me 2 Read?"). The gap is developed in part by lack of access to literary materials, which libraries provide free of charge, and probably continues because of the perpetual inaccessibility of libraries to the inner-city. I'm sure Schaumburg has great test scores that are in part due to its great main library and school libraries. Let's make it a city goal to have good libraries, and our students (and their test scores) will benefit from the plentiful access to educational resources.
With the recent stories about disasters, legal wrangling, and futurism, let's look at a hands down, slam dunk, win-win idea for libraries: dogs! Many school and public libraries use therapy dogs in their reading programs, calming children to widespread acclaim. Academic libraries also make use of therapy dogs, calming homesick students during finals week. These projects involve minimal costs and have a profound impact. Don't let a lawyer or administrator use absurd logic to deny you this wonderful opportunity to have patrons perceive the library as a comfortable and welcoming atmosphere. And remember: refusing to allow a service animal in to a building is also a violation of federal law. What are your dogs in libraries stories?
From November 11-29 Librarians Without Borders' hosts their Guatemalan partner, Jorge Chojolán, on a speaking tour in five North American cities: Toronto, London (Ontario), Ottawa, Montreal, and Los Angeles.
Jorge is the founder and director of the Asturias Academy, a progressive K-12 school that offers education for students from low-income and indigenous families. The speaking events will focus on education reform, leadership, libraries, literacy, and indigenous issues and culture in Guatemala.
Since 2009, Librarians Without Borders has worked with Jorge and the Asturias Academy to promote literacy and libraries in Guatemala. Through many hours of fundraising, planning and hard work, Asturias was able to open a community library to students and their families in January 2011.
For detailed information on the events, time, and places, read more here. All these events are free and open to the public.
Principal of Madison Park Primary David Lawton said books would become a "thing of the past".
"The day has arrived - iPads are here ... look out books," Mr Lawton told the News Review Messenger.
"School library budgets are being lowered and our budgets for technology are higher, so it's only a matter of time before technology takes over from the traditional way of teaching.