Libraries lead and librarians transform

My love of libraries is no secret. If I hadn’t become a teacher, I definitely would have been a librarian.

Librarians and library support staff—whether they are in public, school, academic, medical, or government settings—are the ultimate role models in offering one-on-one attention. Enter the library, and they will not only help you find just what you were looking for; they’ll introduce you to information you didn’t even know existed.

April 8-14 is National Library Week, and the theme is “Libraries Lead.” That’s what they do: lead us on fascinating journeys of discovery.

April 10  is National Library Workers Day, a time to recognize the many ways these special people inspire curiosity and encourage lifelong learning. I think what makes them so good at what they do is that they’re always on a quest themselves to know more and understand more. They are lifelong learners to the core.

Do you know outstanding librarians or library support staff? Recognize their hard work by nominating them for the Galaxy of Stars.

The 11th is National Bookmobile Day, in recognition of the rolling libraries that bring books into communities across the nation.

The American Library Association suggests celebrating libraries—and the people who make them so special—by visiting a library this week to see what’s new.

Follow I Love Libraries on Facebook and Twitter and use the hashtags #NationalLibraryWeek and #LibrariansTransform to show support on social media, and post graphics to your accounts.

You can also participate by answering this question: Where did the library lead you? Post your responses to Twitter, Instagram or on the I Love Libraries Facebook page this week, and you might win a prize.

With the Every Student Succeeds Act, the federal education law, we have an opportunity to speak out for what students and schools in every community need, including librarians and library resources. You can build your school’s Opportunity Checklist here.

Libraries are crucial to the success of all students, but an NEA study released in 2016 found wide disparities in resources based on poverty level and ethnic minority status.

What we need are well-resourced, well-loved libraries for every student—like the one I visited at Brown Elementary School in Jackson, Miss. a few years ago. Check out my previous blog post and video and see it for yourself!

 

 

 

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3 Responses to “Libraries lead and librarians transform”

  1. Cathy Ann Sutton

    You forgot to mention that April is also School Library Month. According to AASL (The American Association of School Librarians this year’s theme is “Making Connections at Your School Library.” For more information visit http://www.ala.org/aasl/advocacy/slm.

    I’ve been a school librarian for 30 years and I am sad to report that we are slowly becoming extinct. Certified school librarians were among the first to be cut when budgets shrunk. In many districts, they have been replaced by low paid clerical staff. Other districts (like my hometown) don’t even require their library media specialist to have a Master’s in Library Science or ANY coursework in Library Science. There doesn’t seem to be any regulation on who can be called a school library media specialist.

    As someone who has a B.S. in Secondary Education and an MLS, I am greatly offended by this. If we truly want the best for our children, we need certified school librarians in every school that have been trained as teachers as well as in librarianship. They can teach students how to access, evaluate, use, and present information safely, effectively, and ethically. Plus they also know how to operate a successful library program.

    As part of my MLS studies, I learned how to develop a selection policy for purchasing materials that best met my school’s needs along with how to handle challenges to those materials. I also learned how to create a budget, evaluate my collection and program, and effectively manage assistants and volunteers. Perhaps most importantly, I learned how to provide readers advisory to students searching for just the right book and how to connect non-readers/reluctant readers to books that interest them.

    School librarians don’t get the respect they deserve. Most administrators have no idea what all they do. Many parents aren’t even aware that their certified school librarian may have been replaced by a clerk making $12 an hour. I can’t speak for all states but in mine, the teacher unions have never addressed the issues school librarians face – the layoffs, replacement by noncertified staff or teachers with no library experience, added duties for the few remaining. These are just a few of the many challenges today’s school librarians are facing – alone.

    It’s probably a good thing that you became a teacher instead of a school librarian, Lily.

    Reply
  2. Cathy Ann Sutton

    You forgot to mention that all of April is School Library Month. According to AASL (The American Association of School Librarians this year’s theme is “Making Connections at Your School Library.” For more information visit http://www.ala.org/aasl/advocacy/slm.
    I’ve been a school librarian for 30 years and I am sad to report that we are slowly becoming extinct. Certified school librarians were among the first to be cut when budgets shrunk. In many districts they have been replaced by low paid clerical staff. Other districts (like my hometown) don’t even require their library media specialist to have a Master’s in Library Science or ANY coursework in Library Science. There doesn’t seem to be any regulation on who can be called a school library media specialist.
    As someone who has a B.S. in Secondary Education and an MLS, I am greatly offended by this. If we truly want the best for our children, we need certified school librarians in every school. Such librarians know how to teach. They teach students how to access, evaluate, use, and present information safely, effectively, and ethically. Yet they also know how to operate a successful library program. They provide readers advisory to students searching for just the right book. Their specialty is connecting non-readers/reluctant readers to books that interest them. As part of my MLS studies, I learned how to develop a selection policy for purchasing materials that best met my school’s needs along with how to handle challenges to those materials. I also learned how to create a budget, evaluate my collection and program, and effectively manage assistants and volunteers.
    School librarians don’t get the respect they deserve. Most administrators have no idea what all they do. Many parents aren’t even aware that their certified school librarian may have been replaced by a clerk making $12 an hour. I can’t speak for all states but in mine, the teacher unions have never addressed the issues school librarians face – the layoffs, replacement by noncertified staff, added duties for the few remaining – just to name a few.

    Reply
  3. Susan Polos

    Also, teachers unions need to recognize and differentiate the roles of school librarians (certificated teachers) and public librarians. This piece treats them as interchangeable, which is a common and dangerous misperception. I wish our unions really did support our work. We are first on the cutting block.

    Reply

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