Are School Librarians Expendable?

[Must-stop-reading. Must stop reading: blogs, newspapers, ASCD Smartbrief e-mails, Facebook posts, magazines, etc. When I read, I get engaged. When I get engaged, I form an opinion. When I form an opinion, I often feel compelled to post on my blog. So, instead of doing my laundry, I am sitting at my computer.]

The answer to the question “Are School Librarians Expendable?” , posed in a recent New York Times “Room for Debate” piece, is a resounding NO! NO! NO!

Of course they are not. Kids, parents, teachers, and the wider school community all need school librarians. My middle school library is one of the busiest places in the entire school. All day, every day. Our talented, capable, and ever-helpful school librarian is one staff member whom we could NOT do without.

Read the piece–check out the debate–and get back to me on Yea or Nay (with details, please) about the need for SCHOOL librarians (really referred to now as media specialists). And, be careful. If you disagree with me and the writer Jessamyn West, I know another passionate and dedicated (and over-worked) school librarian pal that I can sic on you.

You have been warned!

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This entry was posted in Education Budgets, Education Professionals, Faculty and Staff, School Libraries, Students and Schools. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Are School Librarians Expendable?

  1. John Young says:

    Libraries are a functional symbol of the freedom of informational exchange. The cornerstone of our democracy. Librarians are absolutely, positively essential personnel in any systm of education that takes itself and its mission seriously.

    • Frederika says:

      I quite agree. Both students and staff in each of our schools rely on school librarians to lead the way in learning how to learn and in transforming information. At H. B. du Pont Middle School, our school library is literally and figuratively the center of our school and our school program. In the past few years, our school library has gotten more business and active learning than it ever did before.

  2. John Young says:

    Libraries are a functional symbol of the freedom of informational exchange. The cornerstone of our democracy. Librarians are absolutely, positively essential personnel in any system of education that takes itself and its mission seriously.

  3. Joan March says:

    Librarians’ value has only come into question since the advent of the World Wide Web. Students can Google everything now, right? And yes they do, if left to their own methods, choosing the first likely “hit” rather than taking the time to access a database of verified information, and relying on dubious sources such as Wiki Answers instead of taking the time to formulate their own opinions supported by carefully researched facts. The WWW is wonderful but there are many pitfalls, and librarians are the people with time and expertise to act as guides.

    • Frederika says:

      You are correct about the timing. The other part of the story is the desire by some to figure out ways to cut school spending: part-time arts teachers, cutting back on library acquisitions (who needs books?), and rethinking the need for librarians. As noted in the debate, there is the idea out there that librarians are just passive book stampers and shelvers. Nothing could be further from the truth. Marian the Librarian is pure fiction and a misunderstanding of the role of media specialists, a.k.a. librarians, in modern pursuits of learning.

  4. Justin Birch says:

    Sorry to leave an unrelated comment, but I couldn’t find any contact information for you.

    I was hoping to find out if you accept guest posts. I had an idea for one that I think would be a good fit. You can reach me at justbirch81 [at] gmail.com if you’re interested. Thanks!

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