Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Schools may cut librarians

Schools may cut librarians. I just noticed this week a recent newspaper article from Hawaii. The schools there are facing budget cuts and it appears as though school librarian positions are first on the chopping block.

Phyllis Butler, who is a librarian at Stevenson Middle School noted, "I guess they don't understand what librarians do. Who's going to help the students to learn the library in the first place?"

The article notes this as well:

With the loss of the librarian, Mun-Taketa expects the teachers to add library instruction to their school day. There's only one problem: None have been trained. Librarians come with specialized training, often a master's degree. It's they who know how to build a school's book collection and keep it up to date, how to find the best databases on the Internet, how to teach children safety on the Web and find the best research.

The answer to this of course is that library and information literacy instruction will not get done. Some teachers may attempt library instruction but most will not do a good job as they really do not understand libraries and how to teach them. (But I am sure they think they do...)

I realize the Hawaiian schools are hurting. But cutting librarians seems short sided. There must be other places were non-teaching staff can be cut where the education of students would not be so dramatically impacted.

And I also note that Hawaii has the highest tax rate in the country. What are they doing with all that revenue? It is not making it to the schools very well...

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