School Libraries

Kickstarter Builds a School Library

ABC Local: Kickstarter has been used to fund everything from new gadgets to space missions -- but in Berkeley, CA a group of kids just successfully used it to fund a library. A can-do attitude is at the core of the REALM Charter School's curriculum. Now in its third year, the school has classrooms full of technology and teachers full of energy, but no library. The eighth grade class is about to change that. "I really want the future students to love it because we worked really, really hard on this," student Agustina McEwen said. Call it a legacy, when they graduate, they're leaving behind a gift. They're calling it "x-space." "It's a space made out of x's and we use these x's to make

everything in here" Agustina said.

From the bookshelves, to the tables and chairs, it all started in their design class taught by a local group called Project H. "It's sort of humbling and awe inspiring to watch a 13-year-old build something that came from their head, that they prototyped on their desk, and now is full scale," Project H founder Emily Pilloton said.

The Big Plot Twist That Doomed San Diego’s School Libraries

San Diego’s school libraries will be open at least one day a week next school year. That’s actually the good news.

Some schools’ libraries have been closed for years. Even worse: Many of the libraries sitting empty are gleaming new facilities filled with comfy sofas, rows of computers and shelved full of books.

Budget cuts leave about half of L.A. Unified's elementary and middle schools without librarians

Budget cuts leave about half of L.A. Unified's elementary and middle schools without librarians

The crisis has exacerbated educational inequalities across the nation's second-largest system, as some campuses receive extra money for library staff and others don't. It has also sparked a prolonged labor conflict with the California School Employees Assn., which represents library aides.

Since 2011, the union has alleged that L.A. Unified laid off their members, then illegally allowed parent volunteers, instructional aides and others to do their work at nearly four dozen campuses. The district issued a bulletin last year clarifying that library work can be performed only by those with proper credentials, but the union asserts that violations are still occurring. The issue is set for a hearing by the state Public Employment Relations Board in May.,0,5992443.story#ixzz2vYldq2mO

A Happy Schoolroom Story

Via Twitter: Cecelia Larsen @celialarsen "in which a classroom library is destroyed by flood, and book bloggers help save the day": #books

Read all about how volunteers helped restore a flooded classroom with new books at Cecilia Bedelia's Blogspot. Nice to hear about people adding books to school libraries (instead of removing them).

Check out this partial list of titles donated to Ms. Larsen's 9th Grade English classroom (Ms. Larsen is the author's sister):

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
Stupid Fast by Geoff Herbach
Briar Rose by Jane Yolen
Mexican WhiteBoy by Matt de la Pena
Monster by Walter Dean Myers
Lord of the Flies by William Golding
White Cat by Holly Black
The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale
The Only Alien on the Planet by Kristen D. Randle

If you have any further suggestions of books that belong in a 9th grade classroom (for self-directed reading), please mention them in the comments. Ms. Larsen and I thank you!

Do School Children Really Need Librarians?

Yes and no, according to your perspective.

City Limits, a NYC blog reports that earlier this summer, the Department of Education requested a variance from the state, asking official permission to offer fewer librarians in schools. While the DOE says it recognizes librarians' value, in the face of fiscal challenges and technological changes the department is looking for alternative ways to provide students with library services. In place of hiring certified librarians, schools could train teachers to offer the same services, bring in parent volunteers or have librarians circulate between schools.

Meanwhile, elementary schools are exempt from the regulation altogether. Some elementary school libraries are staffed by teachers or librarians without certification. Some even go without.

And from the librarians' POV: "The idea that a shelf full of a books somehow replaces a librarian is wrong," says Christian Zabriskie, Executive Director of Urban Librarians Unite, a professional group that supports librarianship in urban settings. "If I'm exploring things about, say, my sexuality, drug issues, health issues, I can't grab those books in front of my peers," he adds. Zabriskie's own middle school librarian had a significant impact on his life by supporting him when he was being bullied and teaching him how to stand up for others.

School Librarians Belong in NYC Schools

The New York City Department of Education, one of the largest educational organizations in the world, has effectively given up on librarians. As DOE officials call for a variance to state law which requires the presence of a school librarian in every middle and high school in the state they have passing up on a key, high performing, cost effective, tool for student success.

There is a strange dissonance when it comes to libraries. We are both armored by our stereotypes and defeated by them simultaneously. People are ready to hurl themselves on the barricade of our intellectual freedom but when budgets come we are universally tisked and shuttled off into the budget memory hole, quickly snipped away. The idiom of the dusty shelves comes up in the press every time in order to evoke mood.

Full piece

Wall to separate west Windsor library from school due to security risks

A wall will be built to permanently divide Windsor’s west end library due to the security concerns of its neighbouring elementary school.

The Windsor Public Library board accepted the public school board’s decision on Tuesday.

“This is not the ideal solution, but we understand that safety is a primary concern for parents and the school board,” said Chris Woodrow, the library’s acting CEO.

How Scholastic Sells Literacy To Generations Of New Readers

Chances are you have had contact with Scholastic Publishing at some point in your life: You might have read their magazines in school, or bought a book at one of their book fairs, or perhaps you've read Harry Potter or The Hunger Games? From its humble beginning as publisher of a magazine for high schoolers, Scholastic has become a $2 billion business and one of the biggest children's book publishers in the world.

Full piece on NPR

High School Library Trashed

With the majority of a high school library’s irreplaceable book collection documenting African-American history lost, the ire of the community grows.

Highland Park residents will hold a public meeting at 6 p.m. Monday at the city’s Nandi’s Knowledge Café on Woodward Avenue to discuss the loss and what, if anything, can be done.

“Our history was stolen, it was trashed,” said Linda Wheeler, a former special education teacher for the Highland Park School District said of the tossed books. “It rivaled the collections of many community colleges. You can’t put a value on that. It is malicious destruction, it’s a crime.”

Earlier this month thousands of books from the library of Highland Park Renaissance Academy were thrown in the trash. Wheeler said the collection consisted of 10,000 books.

Wheeler’s father and longtime resident Earl Wheeler said a parent volunteer in the district told him the library’s books were thrown out.

“There were at least four (trash bins) and two were left before we discovered what was happening,” Wheeler said.

Wheeler called historian Paul Lee, who rallied a group of volunteers. The group went at night with flashlights, climbed into two bins and retrieved 1,000 books.

Wheeler said he was told the library was being rehabilitated by the Leona Group, a charter management company that operates schools in Highland Park.

From The Detroit News.

ABC Harder Than 123

From the New York Times:

David Javsicas, a popular seventh-grade reading teacher known for urging students to act out dialogue in the books they read in class, sometimes feels wistful for the days when he taught math.

A quiz, he recalls, could quickly determine which concepts students had not yet learned. Then, “you teach the kids how to do it, and within a week or two you can usually fix it,” he said.

Helping students to puzzle through different narrative perspectives or subtext or character motivation, though, can be much more challenging. “It could take months to see if what I’m teaching is effective,” he said.

Educators, policy makers and business leaders often fret about the state of math education, particularly in comparison with other countries. But reading comprehension may be a larger stumbling block.


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