When I was growing up, my school had a miserable one-room library, staffed by a teacher in her off-hours. After that got eliminated, our teachers used to host “borrowing clubs” where you had to bring in 2 books at the beginning of the school year, and you could borrow up to 2 books a week from the pool formed by the entire classroom. Since the average class size in my school was 40 students, there were about 80 books available to each student during the year. Paltry numbers, but, looking back, I think the teachers were heroes, all things considered. Which is why stories such as this one upset me.

The end of the school year is fast approaching. And in at least 14 schools, it also means the end of the school library as it currently functions. Librarian positions in 14 Philadelphia schools, including several high schools, have been eliminated. That means, come fall, the libraries will no longer be staffed by professionally trained librarians. (…) The problem is that too many people, principals included, look upon a library as a frill, and not as an essential component of a quality education. And why are librarian jobs often targeted for elimination? Because in a society where the bottom line is the only thing considered, librarians are expensive. They are certified teachers who have master’s degrees in library science. Their salary and benefits package is more than that of the typical classroom teacher. Nationally, the ratio of students to librarians in schools is 550 to 1. In Philadelphia, that ratio is 1,433 to 1. Come fall, that number is going to be frighteningly larger.

Library, no librarian? It just doesn’t compute.

Via Mobylives.


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