For the love of books and libraries…

Yesterday, which was a Friday the 13th and I totally missed that it was but it did not miss me, I spent the majority of my day responding/ trying to respond on this article… http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-0513-tobar-20110513,0,3002882.column .  I was shocked, upset, hurt, and many other negative emotions, first to the fact that these librarians had to defend their jobs in an interrogation way, as if they were criminals, but more so to the ignorance of about half of the comments.  Most of these people very clearly did not research before they spoke, which helps proves that we do need to keep school librarians.  I know the vast majority don’t live in CA and most of them don’t know what life is like here.  This would be true for me if we were to talk about Minnesota, the state my husband was born, I know very little about this state.  I’m going to try my best to paint a picture of what we have here in CA and give you, the reader, the ability to investigate all that I say here.
I am just going to state facts here, no opinion.  I want to point out four major things that people were saying: the amount high school librarians make, use of CA public libraries, school librarians are teachers, and students with computers.
I live in South CA or So Cal if you want to call it that. I live in Kern County, not in LA or the LA area. My husband is a high school librarian for a lower income school and I used to work for the public library. The first thing CA cuts when they cut the budget are the parks, the second is the public libraries.  So when people say the kids can use the public libraries, well, that would be hard since they are hardly open.  Most are now only open about two days a week and that’s during school and working hours. Please look it up at Kern County Library. org.  Keep in mind that we have a big county too, so it might seem like we have a lot of libraries but some of the libraries are over an hours drive to the next nearest library and some are as close as a 15 minute drive apart.
Because a lot of the students here in Kern County, and most of South California, are from lower income families a large number of these kids don’t have the internet or a computer at home. The school library or their computer room (which is often attached to the library) is their only hope to research on the web.  And the school librarian is the person who teaches them how and what sites are good and true and what are not.
One person started that school librarians are ‘not teachers’ and that they were trying to take the jobs away from ‘real teachers.’  A high school and middle school librarian has to have a teaching credential first, and most of them have spent many years in the classroom before becoming the school librarian.  Also as the school librarian they are the ‘go to’ person when there is a need for an emergency substitute.  Not only do they have to know the standards for libraries (yes, standards: http://www.cde.ca.gov/ci/cr/lb/), but also be aware of all the rest of the curriculum for the school to have supporting books, know when new textbooks are to be adopted, keep up on resources for the classrooms, new technology for library and classroom, and constantly collaborate with teachers on lesson plans for use in the library or just to help the teacher on a lesson plan for the day since the classroom teacher sometimes can not think of something., this happens often with new teachers.
Finally, your typical school librarian makes about what the teachers do, around $47,000 – $70,000. BUT it takes about $10,000 – $15,000 to get the extra education for the librarian credential.  Look into it at Fresno Pacific University.  District librarians, which are not near as common, make near what an administrator makes and they have to have an administrative credential as well as the teaching credential and a librarian credential.
A little opinion here ~ Researching will help you find your answers.  Most school librarians are also technology teachers and show students how to surf the web for research, what is a safe site and what is not, they teach the incoming freshmen the functions of the library, along with much more.  My husband had to make a list of all his duties this year and that list was two full pages typed.  Just please, if you want to debate this, please, just do your research.
Now I know this is going to sound like a bit much, but I have two aunts who teach (one just retired but is now a sub and the other is retiring at the end of this year), I have a mother who (although we are not close) is also a high school librarian, I have a grandpa who is a retired superintendent /principle /teacher, an aunt-in-law who is an assistant superintendent, a mother-in-law who teaches 2nd grade, and a cousin-in-law who teaches kindergarten. All of them are in California, most in So.Cal; one is in the LA area and one is in central/ north CA. I know a lot of aspects in this topic, and most first hand.

Big opinion ~ One other thing I kept seeing in the comments was people discussing administrators.  Now from all that I have witnessed is that when it comes to admin taking a cut the entire district takes a cut of the same percent (example ~ admin 8%, teachers 8%, janitors 8% and so on).  At my aunts school the entire staff was forced to take a 10% cut so no one would be fired.  In my aunt-in-law’s school they all took a 5% cut for the same reason.  So when people say, ‘Admin has been cut over and over.’  This is not true.  Now I understand that schools need to be run and I’m not saying, ‘fire the lot of them.’ I am saying that schools who have two vice principles and one principle might want to cut down to one V.P. as people retire or move on. And districts that are one to two schools big might want to think about having the superintendent act as both principal and superintendent for at least one of the schools. Or, another idea, all vice principles could be cut so they make only $10,000 more then a teacher with the same number of years under their belts (example ~ Teacher works 15 years and makes $50,000 a Vice Principle at the same district works 15 years and makes $60,000).  I do feel that admin does seem to make a lot more then they should and I have witnessed them, in the past, getting a 10% raise while the teachers get a 2%. I just don’t feel that most of them should get the sack.
Here is a new link at what the admin makes in the same district that is letting all the librarians go. http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2011/05/high-level-salaries-approved-for-new-top-administrators-at-cash-strapped-la-unified.html I take that back, maybe some of them should get sacked.

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2 Responses to For the love of books and libraries…

  1. You go girl! I’m glad to see someone standing up for librarians! We book people love our librarians and won’t stand for anyone bashing them.

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