I was just talking to a teacher friend of mine online the other day. I was asking a question in a Facebook group about how I was planning to do centers and how I should try to make them work in our 1 hour library time. She was totally surprised that I would have my students for a whole hour. I couldn't understand it at first, but then she explained that in her school, the students have 15 minutes in the library to pick out their books and they HAVE to checkout the FIRST book they touch!
WHAT?!?!?!?! ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?!?!?
Can you tell that this was upsetting to me? Ladies and gentlemen, this is one of a million reasons that you should NOT have an aide or para-professional running the library without a Library Media Specialist to guide them!
Among those reasons is this... I teach! I don't just sit behind a desk and check out students when they need a new book. (But I somehow find time to do that when I do manage to sit down for a minute!) I teach ELA skills, information skills, 21st century learning skills, research, literature appreciation, genres, drama skills.... well, you get the picture.
It has become common practice to relieve librarians of their duties only to replace them with an aide. I have so much respect for para-professionals... Don't misunderstand that. They do most of the things we do with MUCH less of the pay, BUT... they aren't teachers or librarians. There's a reason we all go to college to do our jobs. If we let this kind of thing slide, how long will it be before schools, with all of their budget crunches these days, start putting para-pro's in charge of classes instead of teachers? I know it might sound far fetched, but if certified librarians can be let go to be replaced by aides, it could happen eventually.
Here's more food for thought. If we don't teach these students to love the library and books, how long before our local government is run by former students who see no need for our public libraries? I know that many think e-books are going to take over, but I still feel that there will be a need for libraries... and if we teach the love of books, well, an e-reader will NEVER replace the printed word. Do you really want books to go out of style? I can't imagine never feeling the pages of a book under my fingers again... that satisfying thump that a book makes when you've read the last page and you close it for the final time. You just don't get that same feeling from finishing an e-book.
Don't get me wrong... I love e-books, too. They have their place. I read on my iPad often... but it just isn't the same.
Love books, love libraries and love your librarians. Without all of those things, I certainly wouldn't be who I am today.
What do you think? Why do schools need librarians? Or if you think schools would be ok without one, please tell me why... I want to know even if it does break my heart.