School Libraries

Austin School Librarians Falling to the Budget Ax

About 485 campus positions could be cut because of a change in staffing formulas unanimously adopted by the Austin school board Monday.

The new formulas, which were proposed by Superintendent Meria Carstarphen under the cloud of several extremely bleak state budget forecasts, would cut 220 elementary and 229 secondary school positions plus another 35 parent support specialists from the district's staffing formulas. The move saves the district $26.5 million, officials said.

The changes would require the board to approve declaring a financial emergency to terminate contracts at a later date. Several board members have said such approval is likely.

At the last minute, trustees changed Carstarphen's proposal to save 52 elementary school librarian jobs. Another 22 librarian positions at the secondary school level, however, were eliminated from the formula, at least for now.

Austin American Statesman.

WO librarian featured in Christian Science Monitor

A digital twist on a dying craft has earned a couple of local librarians place in the national spotlight.

Cynthia Dobrez, librarian at West Ottawa Public Schools’ Harbor Lights and Macatawa Bay middle schools, and her colleague Lynn Rutan have run a blog, Bookends, about youth literature for just more than two years. It can be found on the website booklistonline.com.

Both are accomplished librarians. Rutan, also a former West Ottawa librarian, sits on the committee that hands out the envied Newbery Award to new children’s books, and Dobrez has chaired the American Library Association’s Printz Award committee.

Full article here

Fighting Censorship in School Libraries

From SLJ:

The National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC) recently recognized author Lauren Myracle, school librarian Dee Ann Venuto, and 19-year-old college student Jordan Allen for fighting against censorship in schools.

NCAC's annual "Celebration of Free Speech and Its Defenders" ceremony in New York City brought together more than 150 authors, publishers, and First Amendment advocates to celebrate the work of the 36-year-old organization.

Venuto, a media specialist at the Rancocoas Valley High School in Mount Holly, NJ, was honored for her efforts to keep a list of gay-themed books on her library shelves. The titles Revolutionary Voices: A Multicultural Queer Youth Anthology (Alyson, 2000) edited by Amy Sonnie.

Venuto followed her district's materials review policy, which outlines the steps that must be taken when library materials or other instructional material are questioned, when a local grassroots organization called the 9/12 Group challenged the books, drawing media attention.

Venuto says she's grateful to NCAC for spreading the word about the challenge and for the professional and personal support they gave her.

Don't Cut Our School Librarians!

Article from Scholastic.com by Carole Ashbridge, who has been a school librarian for 35 years and is active in state and national library associations.

Score one for child labor

Durham students work to fill laid off library position

Library assistants may be gone, but Durham Elementary School students are making it work.

But for students at Durham Elementary School, it’s no big deal.

“We like it” said Sydney Ningenfelter, 11.

Since the beginning of the year, fourth- and fifth-graders have been working in the school’s library, volunteering their time in a position that used to be filled by a paid library assistant.

Full article here

Super Public/Middle School Librarian

Super-librarian' figures out secret to getting kids to read

Librarian Cynthia Dobrez uses e-readers, bibliotherapy, and her own intuition in her middle school library in Michigan.

Beautiful New Brooklyn School Library, With No Librarian

From the NYTimes: The shelves were stocked with books. The maple benches were grouped like shin-high honeycombs across the beeswax-colored floor. The Book Hive at P.S. 9 and M.S. 571’s joint facility on Underhill Avenue seemed to have everything. Everything, that is, except a librarian.

After years of planning, The Book Hive opened on Nov. 12, only to promptly shut its doors. The library, which services two Prospect Heights schools sharing the same building, will remain inactive until the schools hire a librarian, a daunting task in the age of slashed budgets and shared services.

“That’s what is so surprising about this whole thing,” said parent Karen Fein, 42. “I mean they were willing to get a half a million dollars to construct this library and outfit it beautifully, and now we don’t have a librarian.”

The Book Hive was constructed with $500,000 in city funding obtained through the offices of Borough President Marty Markowitz and Councilwoman Letitia James. The staff went to work, converting a neglected temporary classroom back into a library.

Chicago's Lack Of School Libraries Sparks Dispute

Chicago's Lack Of School Libraries Sparks Dispute

Nearly one in four Chicago public elementary schools and more than fifty high schools don't have staffed, in-school libraries. Parents at one school were so incensed, they occupied a school building for more than a month to pressure city officials to add one. School officials say they value libraries, but in an era of tight budgets, they often lose out to other priorities.

School Librarian Allegedly Continued Teen Tryst

CALGARY, ALBERTA - An "inappropriate" relationship between a junior high school librarian and a student continued even after court-imposed orders forbade contact, police alleged Thursday.

The librarian, identified by QMI Agency sources as Agnes Kooy, reported to be in her late 40s, was charged this summer following a complaint brought forth by the parents of a 15-year-old boy who police say had entered into the "ongoing" relationship that began earlier in the school year.

Ted Flitton, a spokesman for the Calgary Board of Education, would not reveal the school in question, citing privacy legislation.

"What I can tell you is when Calgary Police Service told us in July that they had laid charges, we took immediate steps to have her removed from the school and all schools, and with a view to her not returning to work," Flitton said.

Police said the alleged relationship, consensual but illegal due to the boy's age, was brought to their attention by the family as well as the school.

"After remedies weren't satisfied through some sort of intervention with the parents and the school, they went to the police," Staff Sgt. Mark Hatchette told CTV.

The Desk Setup: A Look At Librarian Computers

The Desk Setup

Like many technologists, I may have had some vague notion that librarians had something to contribute to discussions about information and metadata and standards and access, but my concept of what librarians did and what they knew probably had more to do with stereotypes and anecdote than on an understanding of reality. Which is a shame. Although in the last few years I think we’ve done a really good job of making clearer connections between libraries and technology, I don’t think anyone is surprised when librarians are omitted from discussions about and between prominent technologists, such as the one facilitated by the Setup. (Note: by “librarians” I mean anyone who works in, with, or for libraries. Hat tip to Eli Neiburger for saying what I’d been thinking, only less clearly, for some time before he said those words out loud.)

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