Giving Compass’ Take:
• Amelia Harper reports that Spokane Public Schools are joining a list of districts eliminating librarians to address budget concerns, but research suggests this is a bad idea.
• How can districts address their financial problems without compromising their education quality? Can communities fill the gaps left by schools without librarians?
• Learn more about the benefits of modern libraries.
Spokane Public Schools (SPS) in Washington, facing a projected $31 million deficit, announced that it will eliminate all school librarian positions in the coming year. This reflects a growing trend as the number of full-time school librarians and media specialists in Chicago has been slashed nearly two-thirds from 2014 to 2018 and more than 9,000 full-time positions — or 15% of the total number — were eliminated from schools nationwide from 2009 to 2016, the Spokesman-Review reports.
But modern school librarians offer so much more. They also teach digital literacyand digital citizenship in a day of easy access to misleading information and fake news. Many oversee makerspaces in libraries and learning centers that have been updated to meet a host of student needs. And they support teachers and administrators by researching information, helping with lesson plans, culling websites to create links that provide the most relevant information, and assisting with technology needs.
Rather than eliminating these positions, school administrators may need to find ways to use their skills more effectively in revamped media centers. A Scholastic Administrator article noted that trained school librarians can improve the student-to-teacher ratio, help provide on-site professional development, free up teacher time by helping them find needed resources, and aid administrators with their research needs. In today’s changing world of technology and information, many school leaders see school librarians and media specialists as an essential part of the school environment.
Read the full article about librarians by Amelia Harper at Education Dive.