Thursday, May 19, 2011

Why I actually wish I had a school-aged child

This isn't about the Godin stuff. mk Eagle and Bobbi Newman expressed the bulk of my sentiments and reservations on that one, other than the fact I would bet money Godin hasn't been in a library in a decade. He's just downloading digital files as he needs them and then crowing about how inexpensive those happen to be, for him. I wrote quite the epic response (for me) response to that all yesterday and lost it in the interwebs.

But I do want to talk about the Los Angeles school librarian interrogations, and what I feel this will come down to, in the end. Parents are going to have to to take up the cause, not my speaking to individual boards or even state legislatures, but by litigating. I don't think many of our schoolchildren, either avid readers or those who need more literacy support, will have access to the print resources they require to understand or extend content objectives or improve their own reading and writing without the range of text in our libraries. And I think we will have to seek legal redress, to ensure school libraries and certified personnel are court-mandated.
I wish I had a child (and I have certainly never typed that before!) at a school where services are impacted, because we need a plaintiff.  Even in Alabama, where our state-mandated staffing levels for library media specialists lead the nation, and our district recently got told it needed that second unit (that had been funding athletic coaches) in the high school libraries, there have been some upsetting trends emerging. Two of my feeder elementaries will be without paraprofessionals next year. I heard a neighboring district will be filling a librarian vacancy with a half-time employee rather than a full-time one. I plan to make some calls to check in on the legality of all this today. I think this may be a more productive avenue for us than the tired suggestions for grass-roots advocacy.

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