Submitted by birdie on April 9, 2010 - 2:48pm
Changes in the way the federal government plans to allocate money to increase and improve literacy pose a severe threat to one of the country’s best-known nonprofit groups, Reading Is Fundamental.
Known commonly as RIF, the organization, which provides free books to needy children and has been promoted in memorable public service announcements by celebrities like Carol Burnett and Shaquille O’Neal, stands to lose all of its federal financing, which accounts for roughly 75 percent of its annual revenues.
“We are looking at having to completely reinvent ourselves,” said Carol Rasco, chief executive of RIF, which has received an annual grant from the Department of Education for 34 years.
Story from the New York Times.
Submitted by birdie on April 7, 2010 - 8:47am
A soft, but audible “hum” of student voices can be heard the moment you walk into the colorful, well-stocked library — and no shushing. Monache High School (CA) Media Center/Librarian Melissa Giannetto likes it that way.
“Today’s kids are used to iPods, cell phones and all kinds of electronic devices, most are not used to absolute quiet,” Giannetto said. “I don’t think that’s necessary as long as they are working together. And you can see that they are.”
Giannatto has been the librarian for three years, after spending 12 years in high school classrooms teaching English.
She is in her element in the library. “This is my dream job and I didn’t know it growing up,” she said, flashing her easy smile. “I love what I do.”
What she does is more than what she says may be the down side of her job, if there is a down side. The misconception that librarians sit at their computers all day doing research is one of those myths that needs to be dispelled, she said.
Included in her duties, and those of Porterville CA and Granite Hills high school librarians Lori Lienau and Catherine Mays, respectively, are managing the library/media center computer lab, helping teachers with their class schedules as they pertain to visiting her academic domain, teaching classes and scheduling college recruitment presentations, to name just a few things. Recorder Online.
Submitted by birdie on April 6, 2010 - 5:43pm
Want to keep up on what's happening with efforts around the country to help save libraries? There's a great new site for that, appropriately named Save Libraries. Their motto is "When one library is in trouble, ALL libraries are in trouble." This project is being run by Lori Reed and Heather Braum. They can’t do this alone and are looking for additional help creating and maintaining the content on this site.
Save Libraries is a grassroots effort to compile information about libraries in need of our support. Save Libraries will aggregate information about current advocacy efforts, archive advocacy efforts, and provide links to resources for libraries facing cuts. The project began barely two weeks ago, and is already attracting attention.
Please email us at savelibs (at) gmail (dot) com for questions, comments, or concerns. Please tag your Web content with savelibraries to make it easier for us to find and collect it.
Kudos to none other than our own Blake Carver and LISHost.org for donating hosting for this site and getting WordPress up and running within minutes. This site is dedicated to advocacy for libraries–getting the message out about why libraries are important.
We’re looking for advocacy information, testimonials from patrons and staff, photos, videos, anything to help save our libraries. Please pitch in!! Use the tag savelibraries or #savelibraries on Twitter. If you would like to contribute to this site please email [email protected].
Submitted by birdie on April 5, 2010 - 3:25pm
Submitted by birdie on April 2, 2010 - 12:08pm
Members of the Ithaca City School District Board of Education seemed reluctant Tuesday to reduce the district's elementary school librarian positions by half as proposed in the 2010-11 budget.
Originally, three of eight full-time librarian positions were proposed to be cut, but Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction Connie Evelyn said she could not ensure equity among the eight elementary schools if there were five librarians, so a fourth position was proposed to be cut.
Librarians perform literacy instruction besides managing school libraries, Superintendent Judith Pastel said.
However, several board members said they could not get behind the cuts, which they feared could cause setbacks in district literacy efforts. A vote could not be taken at the meeting, which was posted as a budget workshop and not a voting meeting.
Submitted by birdie on April 2, 2010 - 8:40am
From School Library Journal: Q & A by recently laid-off librarian Sara Scribner, a (former) school librarian for the Pasadena Unified School District.
Scribner had recently penned a Los Angeles Times op-ed piece, "Saving the Google Students" which went viral and talked about how critical media specialists are in this digital age. We asked Scribner how her students—and society—would fare if librarians didn't exist.
When will you know if your position is terminated?
Right now, Pasadena has a parcel tax measure that is going up for a vote throughout the month of April and early May. It has to pass by a large margin, something like two-thirds of the people voting need to say yes to it. On May 5, we should know if it has passed or not. The word is that the librarians will go if it doesn't pass and that they will be saved if it does pass. That's the district speaking. What will happen in the end is anyone's guess. We might not know for sure until we leave for summer break, or even later.
What would the fate be of school libraries in Pasadena without librarians?
No one is willing to discuss what will happen if all of the district librarians are laid off. Since our school will be going through a major renovation next year, I'm going to guess that the library will be "mothballed." Lights out. No librarian. No books. No media lab.
Submitted by Anonymous Patron (not verified) on April 1, 2010 - 12:48pm
Years of evidence-based research demonstrates the positive impact of school libraries on student achievement in the United States, yet school libraries and media specialists continue to be a target of cuts and closures. A 2006 study also demonstrated the contribution of school libraries to student success in Delaware.
You can read the Delaware report and more at the <a href="http://library.blogs.delaware.gov/2010/04/01/protecting-school-libraries/">Delaware Division of Libraries blog</a>
Submitted by Blake on March 30, 2010 - 8:07am
The majority of schools do not have libraries and it will cost a staggering R2,2-billion to build one in each school, to stock it with books and to pay the salaries of librarians for 10 years, says the civil society group Equal Education (EE).
"It is shocking. It really goes to the heart of the South African education crisis," said the EE's Doron Isaacs.
The lack of libraries significantly contributed to the poor grasp of literacy and numeracy among millions of South African pupils, he said.
"Many Grade 1s will arrive at school and for the entire year they will only get to read about three or four books, whereas children in (former) model C schools will have two to three library books in their bags every day from Grade one," he added.
Submitted by Bibliofuture on March 17, 2010 - 1:41am
All certified school librarians in the Los Angeles Unified School District will lose their positions next school year if efforts to close the district’s $640 million budget shortfall fail.
Full story at School Library Journal
Submitted by birdie on February 25, 2010 - 10:52am
Record Online reports: (Upstate NY) TUXEDO - Town police said a former librarian in the Tuxedo School District embezzled more than $12,000 from the district’s teachers union while serving as its president and treasurer. Police said Teresa E. Haslam, 45, of Chester, issued herself 20 checks and one electronic transfer from the union’s account between November 2008 and May 2009, when she left the district. According to the union, all but $645.98 has been repaid.
Haslam, who’s charged with grand larceny, a felony, turned herself in Wednesday. She was issued an appearance ticket and is due back in Town Court on March 18.
Submitted by Blake on February 24, 2010 - 3:49pm
Retaining Librarians through Mentoring
Henrico County (Va.) Public Schools (HCPS) noticed that the district’s newly hired librarians had a substantial (56%) turnover rate. In 2004, a voluntary mentoring system emerged within the district that encouraged seasoned librarians to reach out to new hires. By the 2005 school year, an official long-distance mentoring program was launched pairing those new to the job with established librarians in other schools. Co-coordinators Joyce Ricks, librarian at Twin Hickory Elementary, and Susan Howe, librarian at Tuckahoe Middle School, spearheaded the program, which was christened Collaborative Partners.
Submitted by Blake on February 23, 2010 - 6:59am
Submitted by birdie on February 18, 2010 - 1:41pm
A citizen of the Fond du Lac School District has added more books to a list she wants banned from the schools.
The school district has scheduled a reconsideration hearing for 6:30 p.m. today at Fond du Lac High School to hear public comment on Ann Wentworth's request to have the book "One of Those Hideous Books Where the Mother Dies" by Sonya Sones taken off the shelves of Fond du Lac school libraries.
The popular young adult book is being challenged by Wentworth as inappropriate for students of middle school age. In addition, Wentworth is asking the district to review the following six library books at Theisen Middle School:
# "Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants" by Ann Brashares.
# "The Second Summer of the Sisterhood" by Ann Brashares.
# "Girls in Pants "The Third Summer of the Sisterhood" by Ann Brashares.
# "Forever in Blue: The Fourth Summer of the Sisterhood" by Ann Brashares.
# "Get Well Soon" by Julie Halpern.
# "What My Mother Doesn't Know" by Sonya Sones.
Several interested persons have signed up to speak at Thursday's hearing. The district reconsideration committee will be asked to begin scheduling dates to review the other six books in question. Each book will be considered individually, according to the Fond du Lac School District.
Fond du Lac Reporter has the story.
Submitted by birdie on February 12, 2010 - 8:28am
Librarian Cathy Collins writes in the Santa Rosa, CA Press Democrat: I have worked in public schools for 14 years now, just “hanging out in the library,” as one Santa Rosa trustee recently summed it up, with students in grades pre-K through 12.
Unfortunately, the role of a school librarian is frequently misunderstood. Like custodians, cafeteria workers and campus security staff, much of our work takes place behind the scenes. Though school librarians have master's level training in best educational practices, we are not assigned official classes, nor do we test or grade students.
The way I see it, every student is my student. I am responsible for ensuring that every student I serve graduates with highly developed critical thinking skills, an appreciation for literature and the knowledge of how to effectively locate and evaluate information from both print and electronic sources. In a nutshell, I am a specialist in information literacy. School librarians collaborate with teachers, administrators and staff to ensure that students are efficient and effective users of ideas and information.
Submitted by Bibliofuture on February 11, 2010 - 3:42pm
In the NYT
A Room for Debate forum on what happens when students stop reading printed books.
Submitted by Anonymous Patron (not verified) on February 4, 2010 - 3:08pm
"Vote for your favorite school by March 31, 2010 and see what a difference you can make. Schools from throughout the U.S. are finalists.
Submitted by Blake on February 3, 2010 - 1:17pm
After years of lobbying, a Bronx high school scores a library
When School Construction Authority officials first stepped foot in the Bronx Center for Science and Mathematics to build a $1.1 million library, Principal Edward Tom had some specific instructions.
“I told them not to think about high school libraries,” Tom said at a ribbon cutting ceremony held at the school today. “I told them: ‘Think Starbucks.’”
Submitted by Blake on February 2, 2010 - 11:49am
Deer checks in, checks out of school library
Whether it was to do research or check out the latest Dr. Seuss book, a deer broke through a back-door window and into the library at Graham A. Barden Elementary School Tuesday morning.
“He said he didn’t see the deer’s head,” Covert said of Becton. “He saw the back of it, and he was a small.”
Submitted by AndyW on February 1, 2010 - 11:21pm
From the AASL Blog:
"WASHINGTON, D.C. – President Obama’s FY2011 Budget Proposal to Congress released today included a $400 billion investment into education but did not include specific funds for school libraries. Additionally, the budget called for a consolidation of the funds for the Improving Literacy Through School Libraries Program, which takes the funds out of reach for most school libraries."
Submitted by birdie on January 27, 2010 - 3:34pm
MENIFEE, Calif. - A California school district that pulled a 10th edition of Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary from classrooms because it defined oral sex will now allow it back on the shelves (here's our previous story on the incident).
However, parents can opt to have their kids use an alternative dictionary (a creationism dictionary?). Story from MSNBC.