School Libraries

Janis Ian's Address to School Librarians

Remember Janis Ian? Cool singer/songwriter from the 60's who describes herself as "Northern, white, Jewish, gay, female, vertically challenged (and an) artist", now living in Nashville TN for the last 23 years. She addressed librarians there recently (thanks to Valerie from Somers Library for the tip!)

From Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools:

"I didn’t realize I was a freak until I started kindergarten. The teacher began showing us how to print letters. I raised my hand and asked to be excused, saying I already knew how to read and write and would much rather be reading. The teacher called me a liar, and made me stand in the corner for the rest of the afternoon. I was outraged, and complained bitterly to my mother when I got home.

The library saved my life. The librarian, Mrs. Anna Baker, was my first true friend – someone who listened carefully, responded truthfully, and gave me every scrap of knowledge she could muster through the books she controlled.Fortunately, my mother was also outraged, though at the thought of anyone calling her child a liar. She came with me the next morning, talked to the principal, and thereafter – provided I made good grades – I spent most of the writing hour with my nose buried in a book. -- Read More

School Librarians Help Joplin MO Restock Library Books

Two and a half months after an unpredictable tornado nearly destroyed Joplin schools, five Marshall (MO) librarians heeded the call of Joplin's Library Media Specialist Bonnie Turner without hesitation. MHS Librarian Rebecca Cramer, Early Elementary Librarian Debbie Hollrah, Eastwood and Northwest Librarian Betsy Lewis, BMS Librarian Katie Berger and retired BMS Librarian Beth Chase agreed within an hour of the initial email that they'd make it work.

They weren't alone. Marshall School District approved the one-day trip they took Friday, Aug. 5, which was scheduled as a contracted workday in Marshall Schools.

"We really appreciate the support," Cramer said of the district's willingness to stand behind them.

The women's goal was to assist Turner with organizing the busloads of books that had been donated. More than 70,000 manuscripts were given to the district after the EF-5 tornado decimated much of the property. The Missouri Association of School Librarians put out a call to all districts, which then recruited volunteers and were assigned a day to work.

"As soon as we all saw it collectively, we said 'okay. We can do that. We know how to do that,'" Cramer said of the request.

The librarians processed and sorted through mountains of books that reached halfway up the school's paneled walls. Looking back, they realized how lucky they are. -- Read More

Library Workers Forced Into The Classroom

Dozens of employees who head up media centers and libraries in Atlanta Public Schools are being transferred into teacher positions to replace educators removed following the test cheating scandal.

Some of the media specialists being placed in teacher positions contacted Channel 2's Tom Regan to complain that they are not prepared to lead a classroom even though they are certified to teach.

"I haven't taught elementary level education in 21 plus years," one employee wrote in an email.
[Thanks johntomlinson for the heads up on the Twitter]

Vonnegut Library: we just want you to read it and decide for yourself

"The KVML will be giving away free copies of Slaughterhouse Five to students from Republic, Missouri’s high school (yes, the school that banned Slaughterhouse Five last week from their curriculum and school library). If you are a student at Republic High School, please e-mail us to request your free copy of the book. Please provide us with your name, address, and grade level. We have up to 150 books to share, thanks to the generosity of an anonymous donor. We think it’s important for everyone to have their First Amendment rights. We’re not telling you to like the book… we just want you to read it and decide for yourself. We will not share your request or any of your personal information with anyone else."

Mother wins appeal to have 'poo poo head' book removed from school library

The poo poo hit the fan for Texan Tammy Harris when she realised her son, 6, was suspended from school for saying a phrase that could be found in one of the school's library books.
Mrs Harris filed a complaint with the Brown Elementary School to have a book removed from the library shelves.
The book, 'The Adventures of Super Diaper Baby' contained the phrase 'poo poo head.'

South Korea to throw away schoolbooks by 2015


The Korean government plans to digitise all school textbooks by 2015, and have students of all ages access "education content" via smartphones, tablet PCs and smart televisions.

The Korean Education Ministry has set the bold timetable to accelerate "smart learning", it announced last week.

Are School Librarians Expendable?

Are School Librarians Expendable?
School librarians are on the chopping block as states and cities seek to cut their education budgets.

In New York City, education officials say that after several years in a row of cutting costs, freezing wages and eliminating extracurricular activities, they may have no choice but to turn to librarians. And with technological advances, education policy makers are rethinking how they view library services in general.

Do superintendents and principals see librarians as more expendable than other school employees? If so, why?

In Lean Times, Schools Squeeze Out Librarians

In Lean Times, Schools Squeeze Out Librarians

“The dilemma that schools will face is whether to cut a teacher who has been working with kids all day long in a classroom or cut teachers who are working in a support capacity, like librarians,” the city’s chief academic officer, Shael Polakow-Suransky, said in an interview.

In New York, as in districts across the country, many school officials said they had little choice but to eliminate librarians, having already reduced administrative staff, frozen wages, shed extracurricular activities and trimmed spending on supplies. Technological advances are also changing some officials’ view of librarians: as more classrooms are equipped with laptops, tablets or e-readers, Mr. Polakow-Suransky noted, students can often do research from their desks that previously might have required a library visit.

School Librarians 'Put Away Their Inside Voices' to Object to Cuts

From the Huffington Post, a look at several states and cities that are facing cuts of school librarians, and how each place is responding...most are responding LOUDLY.

Today's librarians do more than collect and distribute books. Many hold masters degrees, are able to provide resources to both students and teachers, and are often referred to as "media specialists" to reflect their work in assisting students with 21st century technology.

Unfortunately, the work they do is largely behind the scenes and, as Oregon Live reports, parents, education officials, and the public are often unaware of the impact they have on student success. "That's always been the bane of our profession," said Susan Stone, president-elect of the Oregon Association of School Libraries. "We've got to shout about what we do."

Library advocates in Texas did more than shout at a rally held to raise awareness in April. Hundreds of supporters of the Texas Library Association beat drums outside the state capital, demanding that funding for libraries to be restored.

The School Library Journal reports that Carol Heinsdorf, President of the Association of Philadelphia School Librarians (APSL), is actively campaigning to create awareness about librarian importance in Philadelphia.

More from Huff Post.

Rescuing Reading: It's Not Shoe Shopping

Over at Rescuing Reading, a new blog where a children's librarian attempts to bring some common sense and passion for literature back into the world of children's reading, the blogger continues her discussion of the dangers and pitfalls of enslavement to Lexile scores, with some commentary on the first 90 seconds or so of Metametrics' online promotional video about its Lexile scoring system. Among other trenchant observations:

When a child outgrows a shoe size, they can’t go back to wearing that size. They must move up. There is no other choice. It is not the same at all with reading. Kids can read at widely varying levels on any one day. Perhaps they read a comic book or magazine in the morning, their science textbook at school and an instruction manual for their new electronic toy in the afternoon and a favorite fiction author in the evening. These materials will all be written at different levels, and the decision to read each one is made for entirely different reasons.

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