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School librarians targeted in budget crunch

Stakeholders voice support for librarians’ role in teaching 21st century skills

School librarians targeted in budget crunch

Los Angeles school librarians must prove they are qualified to teach students if they want to save their jobs.

How will students learn key information literacy skills, and how will teachers get help with integrating digital resources into their instruction, without a full-time media specialist in their school?

That’s the question a national school library group has asked the nation’s second largest school system as it prepares to cut dozens of school librarians in a high-profile example of a trend that is occurring nationwide.

The American Association of School Librarians (AASL) has issued an open letter to the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) urging the district to avoid cutting school media specialist positions, which would leave thousands of students and teachers without guidance on digital content, reading lists, and research options, the organization says.

The letter, addressed to LAUSD Superintendent John Deasy, Chief Academic Officer Judy Elliott, Board President Monica Garcia, and all LAUSD board members, expresses concern over LAUSD’s current budget crisis and layoff notices that went to more than 80 school librarians.

“If the elimination moves forward, only 32 of approximately 700 schools will have full-time school librarians and only 10 will have part-time school librarians. This means that approximately 600,000 students will be deprived of one of the most valuable educational resources needed for students to compete in today’s 21st-century workforce—a school librarian,” wrote Roberta Stevens, president of the American Library Association (ALA), and Nancy Everhart, president of AASL.

For more school library news, see:

School libraries pummeled as budget crisis worsens

School libraries key in teaching information skills

ALA issues guidance on showing video content in classrooms

Rethinking research in the Google era

In a vetting process that has come to resemble an inquisition, Los Angeles school librarians must prove they are qualified to teach students if they want to save their jobs. (Editor’s note: For a riveting first-hand account of these events, click here.)

School librarians teach students how to use the internet and evaluate content for research purposes. The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards “recognizes them as teachers, and their efforts can be measured to meet standards for professional teaching excellence,” Stevens and Everhart wrote.

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Comments:

  1. sraslim

    May 23, 2011 at 1:19 pm

    Thank you for addressing this important issue. Teacher Librarians are CRUCIAL in helping our students learn to think critically and resourcefully. LAUSD, as most districts aspire to, should expect bell-to-bell instruction from its teachers. Its Teacher-Librarians not only teach bell to bell, but teach between the bells: before school, at break, at lunch and after school.

  2. sraslim

    May 23, 2011 at 1:19 pm

    Thank you for addressing this important issue. Teacher Librarians are CRUCIAL in helping our students learn to think critically and resourcefully. LAUSD, as most districts aspire to, should expect bell-to-bell instruction from its teachers. Its Teacher-Librarians not only teach bell to bell, but teach between the bells: before school, at break, at lunch and after school.

  3. arosi80299

    May 23, 2011 at 4:44 pm

    I can’t believe how many librarians are being laid-off in LAUSD!!! That is crazy!! Students and teachers need help from librarians for so many reasons. The administration is so far removed from the realities of everyday school life. I know that libraries are BECOMING obsolete because of the internet, but they’re NOT YET, and I doubt they’ll ever be!!! Librarians are completely necessary in schools and in the education of students. There were many times in my academic career where if it wasn’t for the librarian, I would have been lost trying to write a research paper or locate proper sources on the internet and in the library.

  4. arosi80299

    May 23, 2011 at 4:44 pm

    I can’t believe how many librarians are being laid-off in LAUSD!!! That is crazy!! Students and teachers need help from librarians for so many reasons. The administration is so far removed from the realities of everyday school life. I know that libraries are BECOMING obsolete because of the internet, but they’re NOT YET, and I doubt they’ll ever be!!! Librarians are completely necessary in schools and in the education of students. There were many times in my academic career where if it wasn’t for the librarian, I would have been lost trying to write a research paper or locate proper sources on the internet and in the library.

  5. skjohns

    May 23, 2011 at 5:33 pm

    Educational researcher Dr. David T. Conley, educational researcher at the University of Oregon, says in his book College Knowledge that schools must not give their students the skills to get into college but also the skills to get out of college. School librarians do that–the encouragement of reading and the 21st century skills described above that school librarians teach to their students are crucial for students to continue learning for life. Teaching in a school library can be group instruction, working with groups or one-on-one tutoring of students and staff. This inquisition is sad and way off target for a school district that wants to increase the number of students headed to post-high school learning.

  6. skjohns

    May 23, 2011 at 5:33 pm

    Educational researcher Dr. David T. Conley, educational researcher at the University of Oregon, says in his book College Knowledge that schools must not give their students the skills to get into college but also the skills to get out of college. School librarians do that–the encouragement of reading and the 21st century skills described above that school librarians teach to their students are crucial for students to continue learning for life. Teaching in a school library can be group instruction, working with groups or one-on-one tutoring of students and staff. This inquisition is sad and way off target for a school district that wants to increase the number of students headed to post-high school learning.

  7. vwaddle

    May 23, 2011 at 7:21 pm

    “Alaniz noted that although much of the media focus has been on librarians, budget woes and layoff notices are affecting teachers, school counselors, and other school employees as well. ” While this is true, it’s a red herring. No other group is being attacked like teacher librarians in LAUSD. The district administration is pretending they aren’t teachers when state credentialing requires them to have teaching credentials in another subject area as well as in library science. All this when the state has just approved model school library standards and these are highlighted in the common core standards. The LAUSD and others in CA can’t have it both ways. Research proves the need for teacher librarians.

  8. vwaddle

    May 23, 2011 at 7:21 pm

    “Alaniz noted that although much of the media focus has been on librarians, budget woes and layoff notices are affecting teachers, school counselors, and other school employees as well. ” While this is true, it’s a red herring. No other group is being attacked like teacher librarians in LAUSD. The district administration is pretending they aren’t teachers when state credentialing requires them to have teaching credentials in another subject area as well as in library science. All this when the state has just approved model school library standards and these are highlighted in the common core standards. The LAUSD and others in CA can’t have it both ways. Research proves the need for teacher librarians.