Sunday, September 29, 2013

All I can say is Nooooooo!

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. 


  1. School librarians ROCK! We have an amazing librarian and we are so lucky! Our students get 50 minutes a week of library time, but they are always welcome to come anytime and return and check out another book. She is very well-read and so she always has a great book (or two or three or four) to recommend.

  2. Beautiful post! I hope the teachers and students in your school know how very blessed and lucky they are to have someone as passionate, caring, and wonderful as you in their school library! :) Thanks for bringing this topic up for us. :) Christina

  3. Your kiddos are lucky to have you. We've had a para in the library for the last 5 years or so. 20 minutes-- in and out. We've also had a para as our computer lab teacher for the last 2 years now. Sad. :(

  4. It is sad how many schools have gotten rid of certified librarians. Actually, many of the schools in my state have. Now kids don't understand how to use a library AND they struggle even picking out books. Keep doing a great job at your school and I hope they keep you around for a LONG time!

  5. I have my students for 40 minutes. We have our story/lesson for about 20 to 25 minutes, then the rest of the time is for check out, recommending books, reviewing AR goals, etc. I can't imagine this being done any other way.
    Mrs. Tretbar’s Library

  6. I worry about the furture of our libraries if we don't keep invaluable librarians around that do work hard in their schools. The job is all in what you make it and you have to be able to roll with a lot of change. In our school, our librarian is the most missed person when she is absent. She affects everyone in the building daily. That is so important.

  7. I love my library. I love books and I love my e-reader. I love being able to show a tumble book or use www.wegivebooks.scom and flip through a book with my little ones on the active board. I love having so many choices and being able to use what works best with the different ages that I teach. I love have books on cds and letting them snuggle down and listen to a story as they flip the pages themselves. I LOVE the world that we live in and having the CHOICE. I feel like it makes me a better teacher/librarian to have so many options.

    I LOVE shopping for books for my students and having book fairs! It makes my heart fill up with happiness when a box of books arrive and even more so when the students see those new books on the FRESH ARRIVAL SHELF! :)

    It's the best job ever! :)

    Mrs. Dilday

  8. I struggle with this - my students have 30 minutes per grade level for me to read to them, teach, AND pick and check out books. This is the same no matter how large the class is so for some we only have time to check out books - not fair to those students. I am only there two days, one of those only a half day, so students cannot check out at any other times (I did set up a way for them to return books). The middle school gets 50 minutes a week but that is for Computer AND Library time and they receive minimal library instruction (from a separate para with a computer background - no library training).

    There has not been a librarian in my school since it began and the cataloging is... interesting. (Actually there is still not an MLS librarian because I have not yet taken my Masters, but I have many years of library training and an apprenticeship plus an English degree.) Right now I am just trying to get my head above the water with the cataloging and the shelving.

    We had several thousand books donated from the public library - each of which has to be evaluated and then cataloged and processed by me and quickly because we have no storage space. We have approximately 350 - 400 books returned each week which all have to be checked in and most re-shelved by me, plus many of the middle school books. I would love to do this, only the school says they can't afford to pay me any time outside my usual prep and I just need to get it done during my prep time! Because, you know, it's totally reasonable that I spend my three hours of prep (broken up between classes) getting all of that done...

    1. Bless your heart! I know how you feel though. I often stay long hours after school to do cataloging. :-( There's just no way to get that & lesson planning done during the school day. If there's ever anything I can do to help, please let me know!