School Libraries

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.

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.

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

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 <a href="http://rescuingreading.blogspot.com/">Rescuing Reading</a>, 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 <a href="http://rescuingreading.blogspot.com/2011/06/six-minute-lexile-video-part-1.html?spref=fb">commentary on the first 90 seconds or so of Metametrics' online promotional video about its Lexile scoring system<

Oprah Ends 25 Year Run With a Focus on School Libraries

From School Library Journal.

Many viewers took note that about halfway through the star-studded May 25 finale of The Oprah Winfrey Show at Chicago's United Center, children's libraries got the spotlight. Standing in the newly renovated library at New Orleans' KIPP Believe College Prep, which lost all of its books during Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Grammy-winning artist John Legend announced that the school library was the first of 25 that retail giant Target, in conjunction with the Heart of America Foundation, will renovate this year to honor 25 years of Oprah's show.

The effort is part of the four-year-old Target School Library Makeover program, which in 2011 will bring new furniture, carpet, shelves, eco-friendly design elements, technology upgrades, and 2,000 books to 42 school libraries nationwide. The renovations are expected to be completed by November. More from SLJ.

A last hug for high school librarian

Today, I hugged my librarian. We were both in tears. As a Grade 9 student, even being at F.J. Brennan for a little bit, I've realized the importance of the librarian.

Read more: http://www.windsorstar.com/news/last+high+school+librarian/4909900/story.html#ixzz1OhN6AqtP

Closing School Libraries

It's all part of a whole. Cut libraries and librarians at schools, and children will be less comfortable utilizing their local public libraries. Cut libraries and librarians in the public library system, and children and parents will be less likely to use and support their school and community libraries. And so on and so on....

Here's a letter to the editor from a public librarian in Ontario, Canada that sums up the issues:

Closing a school library is not just an issue for schools. Library programs at schools foster a love of reading, and develop information, research literacy and critical thinking skills. They allow kids to learn about their world, and to explore and develop their own interests. The lack of these skills among students will have a big impact on both the public and academic library, as well as on society.

A major Canadian study from People for Education and Queen’s University has found that having a school library improves test scores, and schools with teacher librarians have more positive attitudes toward reading; while schools with no professional librarian have lower reading scores. As school libraries and librarians become fewer, the impact on public libraries and society as a whole will grow.

We will be raising a generation of children who don’t read, leading to a generation of adults who won’t read, and who won’t know how to find information or critically evaluate the information that they do find.

L.A. School District Tells Librarians: You're Not Teachers

The Los Angeles Unified School District plans to lay off thousands of employees, as it faces a budget shortfall of more than $640 million. The cuts include 85 school librarians — who have been told that they no longer count as teachers. The change in classification would make it easier for the school district to cut the jobs.

Full story on NPR

Who Needs Literacy? Only Federal Program Funding School Libraries Eliminated

WASHINGTON, D.C.– The Improving Literacy Through School Libraries program was zeroed out under the Department of Education’s allocation for FY2011 funding (PDF), released today.

Improving Literacy Through School Libraries is the only federal program solely for our nation’s school libraries. This program supports local education agencies in improving reading achievement by providing students with increased access to up-to-date school library materials; well-equipped, technologically advanced school libraries; and professionally certified school librarians.

“This decision shows that school libraries have been abandoned by President Obama and the Department of Education,” Emily Sheketoff, executive director of the American Library Association (ALA) Washington Office, said.

“The Department has withdrawn funding for numerous successful literacy programs in order to launch new initiatives to bolster science, technology, engineering, and math education. Apparently, what the Department of Education fails to realize is that the literacy and research skills students develop through an effective school library program are the very building blocks of STEM education. Withdrawing support from this crucial area of education is an astounding misstep by an Administration that purports to be a champion of education reform.”

No Love for "Lovingly Alice" as School District Removes Book

A Paradise Valley, AZ mother is upset that her daughter was subjected to Lovingly Alice by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor.

"If you looked on the cover, it's just a very young cute girl on the cover," Lockhart said. "My (incoming) second-grader can pick this book up and think, 'This is a cute book.' There needs to be some sort of warning label."

Officials with the Paradise Valley Unified School District have pulled the book from their shelves.

More from AZCentral.

School Librarians in Los Angeles Defend Their Jobs

Faced with budget cuts and layoffs, school librarians in LA are being interrogated by lawyers about their relevancy in schools. The LA Times reports:

"I've seen a lot of strange things in two decades as a reporter, but nothing quite as disgraceful and weird as this inquisition the LAUSD is inflicting upon more than 80 school librarians....To get the librarians off the payroll, the district's attorneys need to prove to an administrative law judge that the librarians don't have that recent teaching experience."


Click here to read the LA Times article.

A teacher/librarian in LA has outlined her observations and opinions in an unsettling blog post, which gives a first-hand look at these interrogations.

Click here to read the blog post.

The disgraceful interrogation of LA school librarians

The disgraceful interrogation of L.A. school librarians
A court reporter takes down testimony. A judge grants or denies objections from attorneys. Armed police officers hover nearby. On the witness stand, one librarian at a time is summoned to explain why she — the vast majority are women — should be allowed to keep her job.

The librarians are guilty of nothing except earning salaries the district feels the need to cut. But as they're cross-examined by determined LAUSD attorneys, they're continually put on the defensive.

"When was the last time you taught a course for which your librarian credential was not required?" an LAUSD attorney asked Laura Graff, the librarian at Sun Valley High School, at a court session on Monday.

SLJ's 2011 Technology Survey: Things Are Changing. Fast.

Despite the funding challenges nearly all school libraries face, many media specialists are optimistic about the role of technology in the school library, according to SLJ’s 2011 Technology Survey. Maribel Castro, a high school librarian, in Lubbock, TX, spoke for many school librarians when she wrote that even though her library is behind the tech curve, she still feels that “we are at the cusp of great things.”

Taxonomy upgrade extras: 

Lack of librarians will hurt younger readers

How do children become proficient readers? It's not a mystery. Decades of education research has demonstrated that children become good readers by discovering the joy of reading at an early age.

Stephen Krashen, an emeritus professor of education at the University of Southern California, is one of our foremost authorities on this critical subject. He concludes in his book, The Power of Reading that it is only through what he calls "free voluntary reading" that children become good readers. Reading instruction, according to Krashen, just doesn't work. Turning kids on to reading by matching their interests to the right books is the only thing that works.

Full article

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