NY TImes Debate..are School Librarians Expendable

Discussion in 'Library/Media Teachers' started by PCdiva, Jun 27, 2011.

  1. PCdiva

    PCdiva Connoisseur

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  3. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Jun 28, 2011

    I would not want to see our school librarian cut, but I don't think that we need a librarian and a media specialist as we have now.

    Our librarian finds us articles to send our way on ideas or curriculum that we want more knowledge of. Teaches lessons to the students, helps students find the right fit book, etc.

    However, I would rather see the librarian cut then all the specials in a school.
     
  4. soleil00

    soleil00 Comrade

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    They cut our librarian this year, well she was moved to teach 1st grade (instead of hiring someone new as she was certified) and she was not replaced. Now, we have one librarian for the 3 elementary schools in my district and will only have teacher aides or subs working the front desk at mine to help the kids.

    It's a shame, for sure.
     
  5. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    It bothers me greatly that you don't believe your librarian is actually needed. Not that you have this opinion, but because it tells me that he or she is likely not fulfilling her responsibilities to the school. A "true" and effective librarian would leave the entire learning community fighting to keep the position during cuts.
     
  6. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Reading what you've shared, PC, gives me a bad feeling in my tummy—literally. It's what I want to do, and to see the opportunities slashed is crushing. Locally, we haven't experienced this, but I fear the future.

    To be perfectly fair, though, I really do feel that too many libarians are just...sucky...and this has caused so many to believe their positions are no longer necessary. And I guess in those cases they are right. Sad for the students getting jipped an awesome librarian, sad for the teachers who aren't getting the great collaborative teacher they should be getting, and sad for me who wants to be in the media center! :(
     
  7. PCdiva

    PCdiva Connoisseur

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    Jul 2, 2011

    My title is Library Media Specialist

    What does your Media Specialist do?

    Is library a special also or does the classroom teacher accompany the students to the library?
     
  8. PCdiva

    PCdiva Connoisseur

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    True story!
     
  9. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    I would have to agree with Mopar. Of course I don't want our librarian to be cut, but if there was just no money and we had to cut something, I'd pick that first before other specials or classroom teachers (meaning much larger class sizes). Our librarian is a good resource, but I think that's something that could be more easily incorporated into the gen ed classroom, and something the regular ed teachers would actually do, as opposed to "fit pe into the regular classroom time" which would probably just never happen- but regular ed teachers could fit things like research into their classroom.
     
  10. Go 4th

    Go 4th Habitué

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    WOW! I would be devastated to see our media specialist go. Due to cuts, we have lost our full time media para, who now only comes every other week.

    Our media specialist is awesome! She assists in curriculum by integrating what I'm doing in SS with her media skills that she is teaching. She is constantly offering ways to intro technology into our lessons. She is fantastic at helping find resources to connect to our classes and going above and beyond her regular duties such as purchasing books, technology, etc. She runs our school tv station and trains and teaches the students how to do it. She is a great cheerleader of the school. She believes the library is like the kitchen in our house--it is the central place that everyone should want to be. :) She has a great relationship with students and parents. More than all of this, she teaches children about books and helps them find books they love! Her goal is for every child to love at least one book.


    PS--I can't find spell check anymore. Have I lost my mind or is it gone????
     
  11. Peachyness

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    Jul 3, 2011

    In every school I've taught in, we've always had a librarian/media specialist person who helped to run the library, work with the kids to pick out books, etc. I know very little about the going ons of a library. IF I were to work at a school where I had to be in charge of doing library, I would be at a loss.

    How do you think YOU could fit it in? Plus, SOMEONE has to be there with the kids. So, would you take the half an hour to walk your whole class down? For the upper grades, the kids go on there own during lunch and recess time. Upper grade teachers doesn't really go down as a class.
     
  12. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    I don't think the responsibilities and abilities of a librarian are so easily given to classroom teachers. And if someone thinks so, I still have to believe their librarian just isn't quite amazing. I feel like it's similar to saying that language arts should be cut because, after all, you can read passages and write reports in science. (Actually, this is the thinking of some disticts, but I digress...)
     
  13. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    We talk our students down as a class. We stay with our students and help them check out books. We often are the ones scanning the books to be returned or checked out. Then we have parent volunteers reshelf the books.

    We have a librarian and a media specialist. Our librarian helps match books to students and makes sure books are returned. The librarian also takes care of the broadcast each day.

    Our media specialist helps to integrate technology and manages the technology. However, we also have a technology department that our media specialist always refers us to.

    It seems silly to have two jobs that could become one to save money in this economy.
     
  14. JustMe

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    That's interesting. My degree certifies me as "library media specialist", so the two roles are certainly integrated into that one position. Do you know if they are both certified in library media education? I think it's awesome to have a library media specialist and a technology coordinator, but I agree that while having all three (those in addition to a librarian) is incredibly fortunate for your school, perhaps excessive if the budget is an issue.
     
  15. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Something else though... :)

    While I take my whole class down on a regular basis for checkout, there are many more times I don't. I send students in small groups to check out, research, or work on collaborative projects using the technology in the library. If there wasn't a certified librarian, a classified employee could hold the fort down, but someone would have to be there otherwise the library would be closed for the majority of uses.
     
  16. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    That is my thought as well. I believe that both our librarian and media specialist are certified librarians and media specialists. We have a separate technology department. This year they cut the tech person at each school and combine jobs of our tech department.

    We have a media specialist assistant and she is the person that I believe to be truly indispensable to our school.
     
  17. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Those extra uses is why our media specialist assistant is always in the library. This role was cut to part-time and now we are only allowed to send students down on the days that she is available.
     
  18. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    Well I'm not a classroom teacher, but if I were I think this would be something that would be a lot easier to try to fit in rather than something like PE or music. All of our classrooms have some sort of "sustained silent reading time" in them. All you'd need to do was take 20 minutes out maybe every other week and head to the library instead of reading silently or doing independent work. Since we already have library scheduled as a special at our school, this wouldn't need to be extra time to "fit in", as blocks of time would already be scheduled for it (so it's not taking away any teaching time the teachers currently have). If the school wanted this time to be kept as planning for the teachers, they could have a para or parent volunteer help the kids check out books.

    I know our librarian helps the kids with research if they have a project going on in class, which is really nice, but this is something they do in their regular classrooms as well. With the younger kids, she also usually does a book and a little activity. Again, this is something that's nice to have as extra reinforcement, but it's also something already being done in the regular ed classrooms. These standards are already built into the regular classroom LA standards, so the teachers are already teaching the stuff. They'd just have to go without the added resource of the librarian. Like I said, I wouldn't like ours to get cut, but if we had to get rid of something I'd rather get rid of an extra resource rather than something like music, art, or PE (which are mostly not already being built into classroom time) or classroom teachers (which would mean larger class sizes). Some kids (especially a lot of kids I have) simply aren't strong in academics. Classes like PE, art, or music are times where they really get to shine and experience something outside of the academic realm. They get to develop other talents and it really helps our low academic kids to be able to be good at a "school thing" to improve their self-esteem. Library is a great resource, but it's another academic thing. Of course I'd rather we didn't cut anything. However, if something absolutely had to go, I think it's the most reasonable choice.
     
  19. PCdiva

    PCdiva Connoisseur

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    Library isn't (or shouldn't be) just about checking out books though. Maybe that is what your LMS does which is why you are thinking this way. My students learn how the library is organized- I know many teachers in my building wouldn't be able to teach that. They learn about internet safety, evaluating sources on the internet, how to type, how to locate print sources, how to cite sources, how to use an encyclopedia, atlas, etc. They learn to use various web 2.o tools and navigate through networked computers. How to use an OPAC.

    I can go on and on. I was a classroom teacher first, until I went to library school, I didn't get it. I dropped my kids off at the library for 40 mins a week and thought it was all fun picking out books, etc. Once I went to library school, I learned what was really going on in the Library Media Center and was so impressed.

    This year all of my classes at the chance to video conference with other classes around the country...something I know the classroom teachers wouldn't have taken the time to find a match/plan an activity, etc. I'm glad I did though, the experience was so valuable for the students.
     
  20. JustMe

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    I understand that you don't at all desire to see your librarian cut, but I feel this statement very much minimizes a librarian's role. Taking twenty minutes every other week to head to the library for checkout doesn't even touch the influence a strong librarian has in a school.
     
  21. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    As a secondary math teacher, I've got to admit my total ignorance:

    What is the job description of a school librarian? and of a Media Specialist? What is a typical day for either of them?
     
  22. SCTeachInTX

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    SO wrong!
     
  23. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Our school librarian is responsible for library tasks only: book check out, reshelving books, getting new books ready for check out, letting kids know which books have not been checked in, teaching about the library set up, helping kids find good books, our morning broadcast, teaching about researching using books and internet, teaching about citations, etc

    Our media specialist works more with the tools of teaching: smartboard training, mimio training, matching teachers with tools that best suit their needs, helping teachers use tools and setting up tools, finding resources for teachers about technology, etc.
     
  24. bandnerdtx

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    Our school librarian is also our tech specialist on campus. She is in charge of issuing computers to the students, helping with repairs when possible, contacting the district IT department with other issues she can't fix, etc. In our district the school librarian is still needed, but the job duties are changing drastically.
     
  25. soleil00

    soleil00 Comrade

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    It definitely is, but there's nothing that anyone can do about it. Our librarian really didn't do anything outside of the 'library' realm. She helped the kids check out books, ran the book fairs, and she also taught the kids about print awareness and how to pick books on their reading level. It was all basic library functions, however it will be missed this year... I know that for a fact. I don't know what the kids are going to be doing on library days this year (each class goes to the library for 30 minutes one day a week) now that we don't have a librarian...
     
  26. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    We also have a separate technology department to fix and hand out our technology.
     
  27. JustMe

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    Jul 5, 2011

    Alice, it varies greatly. Some schools have a single library media specialist, others have the specialist and a classified employee for the lesser tasks, and others have a separate technology department. From my experiences, it's most common to have a single specialist. This comes from a book that was often used in my library media program and it briefly summarizes the main roles of a library media specialist—teacher, instructional partner, information specialist, and program manager.

    This is a random list of specifics typed as they came to me:

    • Manage the budget. Big one.
    • Purchase books (easier said than done), cover books, enter books into system.
    • Repair books.
    • Purchase AR tests, if applicable.
    • Purchase other resources such as magazines, various website subcriptions for the library and classrooms, teacher professional resources, technology.
    • Learn the use the technology.
    • Teach students and teachers how to use that technology.
    • Often fix that technology.
    • Offer a book club.
    • Offer book fairs.
    • Host family reading nights and other such events.
    • Teach parents how to access grades and such during open house events.
    • Bring authors to the school.
    • Arrive early to allow students acccess.
    • Stay late for the same.
    • Weed the collection.
    • Create a collection development policy. Another big one. Mine was over fifty pages.
    • Take inventory each summer. Every single item.
    • Student announcements.
    • Create multimedia presentations for open house and similar events.
    • Teach students INFORMATION LITERACY. Yep, another big one.
    • Host contests/programs to encourage reading.
    • Pull books/materials for a teacher's unit.
    • Organize student/parent volunteers.
    • Many administer reading tests (DIBELS, etc.)

    Honestly, there is just sooo much a quality librarian brings to a school so I'll stop there.

    Oh! One more thing. A librarian will not be an expert in every subject, but he or she should be familiar with the content/standards for each subject and at each grade level. In addition to a librarian's standards (some states/districts have developed their own in addition to NETS [technology standards] and the ALA's Information Literacy Standards for Student Learning Standards and Indicators), they must know enough about every other subject to support the teachers and students.
     
  28. PCdiva

    PCdiva Connoisseur

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    I understand why you think you can do with out a librarian. Because, she is doing 1/2 of what a Library Media Specialist in NY would do. I am responsible for both of what you are describing. However, in my current district, I also have a senior Library Clerk *civil service position. to do the checking in and out and re-shelving of books, etc.
     
  29. PCdiva

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    Typical Day for an elementary Library Media Specialist (which is the title on the NYS certification):

    8:00 am (1 day per week): offer professional development to the teachers regarding technology: Smart Board, Mimio, or some other web 2.o too

    8:45 am: students begin to arrive, they come down to exchange books, classes who will have library today will send down books so they can be returned in the system prior to their class visit.

    9:15am: Morning announcements- may need to go to office help with music or make an announcement

    9:30am : 2nd grade class come in, teach a lesson on comparing and contrasting- *hope that most students are already familiar with Goldilocks and Three Bears, Read them "Goldisocks and the Three Libearians. Use the smartboard to compare and contrast the elements of the story. Have students complete the Venn Diagram. Allow students 12 minutes for book checkout.

    10:15am: 1st grade class, in the middle of an author study on Laura Joffe Numeroff- read another one of her books, visit her website using the smart board to find out more information on her life. Discuss what a circle story is. As a class come up with our own circle story based on the story we just read. Students will create an illustration to go with our story. Later this will be made into a class book. 10-12 mins for book check out.

    11:00am: trouble shoot the 10 things that teachers have called about while I was teaching- projectors, computers, printers, etc. Fix the ones I can, and call the computer dept for the ones I can't.

    Pull a cart of animal books for the Kindergarten research the teachers have asked me for and biography books on explorers that the 4th grade teachers want to borrow.

    Hang student work on bulletin board.

    11:45: Lunch

    12:45: Kindergarten! Work on listening skills while reading The Alligator Arrived with Apples. Talk about ABC order- like we keep the books as well as alliteration. Students must come up with one food that starts with the same letter as their name. Go to smartboard and students will match food to the letters they start with. Students will write and draw modeling the story. Book check out- assist students in finding one book they can read as well as a picture book of their choosing.- 15-17 mins.

    1:30: another 2nd grade class

    2:15: 5th grade, working in computer lab. Teach students how to use noodletools to cite sources for their upcoming research project. Explore some of the sources they will be able to use for the project and discuss how we know it is a credible source.

    3:00: students go home
     
  30. stephenpe

    stephenpe Connoisseur

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    Jul 10, 2011

    I have to add something here. I work in two schools. One without a library and the other with a library but and SRP doing the job.
    She did the job as an unpaid volunteer for 4 years until they hired her (minimum wage). From this list she does most of it
    She is also in charge of the AR program. Organizes our end of year reception for graduating seniors. I dont think she has a college degree but her three daughters are all geniuses.
    She is a HUGE asset to our school. I think all schools should have nice libraries and media specialists to run them. Art teachers, tech labs, music teachers PE teachers obviously and
    counselors. I actually live for the day when the Air Force has a bake sale to buy that new jet (for that congressman whose district really needs those jobs) and my school has all the support and materials they need for kids.
    btw my librariless school has a bookmobile that visits.
     
  31. PCdiva

    PCdiva Connoisseur

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    That is wonderful for the sake of your students that your SRP does this...but that wouldn't fly here in NY...the union would be all over her since she is doing something outside her job description.
     
  32. MissCeliaB

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    I am so glad I don't live in a big union state. Most of the things I love most about my job are outside of my job description.
     
  33. JustMe

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    Jul 10, 2011

    But because there are people who are willing to do something beyond their job description (and perhaps level of expertise), districts will feel perfectly justified in hiring them opposed to trained professionals. And if they can do that to a library media specialist, then...
     
  34. Youngteacher226

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    I have to say...as a classroom teacher who just registered for classes in a Library Media Specialist program, I am saddened. I have been a classroom teacher for 11 years. I am NYS certified in Literacy Instruction but decided that I want to do more than be a "Literacy Coach" or "Reading Teacher", I want to impact the school by becoming school leader. I am a big literacy/technology advocate and feel that I can do more and reach more students by becoming a Library Media Specialist. That being said, I just heard some things that I was extrememly afraid to hear. First that states are considering cutting school LMS and that actual teachers proclaim that they can do what a LMS can do. How sad. Our LMS just retired at the end of last school year and I must say that our school has suffered greatly. We have not been able to find an adequate LMS to fill her position and our school has really been at a loss without her. She did soooooo much for our school and we really saw her as an asset. Thank God I work at a school where every position is neccessary. I say this again and again, we are so fortunate. We had a LMS, we have two technology people who take care of technology issues and a HUGE library filled with thousands, I mean thousands of books. We had our LMS full time, every day. I couldn't imagine a world where LMS are not needed. Really? I hate to say it, but I'm reconsidering my career move. I would hate to invest all of that money in getting a second Master's if this is where our school systems are going. I'm loss & confused.:dizzy::(
     
  35. PCdiva

    PCdiva Connoisseur

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    Exactly what I was going to say....I wouldn't have a job if they could hire a highly qualified SRP to do the job for less than 1/2 of what I make.
     
  36. PCdiva

    PCdiva Connoisseur

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    I think you should do it....I was in a classroom first too- though they were leave replacements, I also like you have my first masters in Literacy. Still I thought the Library Science Masters was very interesting and worth the money....$30,000. Even if I didn't get a library job, much of the things I learned could be used in a regular classroom and I still would have moved over 2 pay columns so it would pay for itself in 6 years.

    What program did you enroll in? Was it Palmer?
     
  37. Youngteacher226

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    Yes, I thought about the pay scale. I figured even if things didn't work out, I could still see an increase in pay. Right now there is no LMS in our Library and I hope as I get close to the end of the program, either they will still be on the lookout for a great LMS (such as myself) or the one they hire while I finish my program will no work out. I hate say that, but it's true. I feel like I am so invested in that school that I don't want to leave. I want to make a difference right there. I see it your way as well. I think what I've learned as a classroom teacher and my literacy background will make me a better LMS and so forth. The great things I do in my classroom (book recommendations, Author studies, literacy celebrations etc.), I can do in the library. I actually enrolled in a SUNY school here in NY. It is an online program. I'm very excited!
     
  38. PCdiva

    PCdiva Connoisseur

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    Awesome!I didn't know any of the SUNY schools had a MLIS program..that will save you a chunk of money. Is it completely online or Hybrid?

    Did you ask your principal if she would consider you for the job for next year? Since in NY elementary LMS are not state mandated- you can technically be one with just elem. cert. And since you are enrolled in the program, you are a step ahead.
     
  39. Youngteacher226

    Youngteacher226 Enthusiast

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    Yes, University at Buffalo, and I'm doing it online. I did talk to my principal about the position and she's really excited about me going back to school for LMS. The position does require the applicant to have a Master's in LMS though and have some teaching experience. I wasn't aware that in NY you dont have to have a LMS degree. Strange. My school is asking for it.
     
  40. PCdiva

    PCdiva Connoisseur

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    Jul 11, 2011

    Maybe since your school also has a middle school (I think you mentioned that in another post) Since in NY it is state mandated for Middle School.
     
  41. Youngteacher226

    Youngteacher226 Enthusiast

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    Jul 11, 2011

    No actually my school is only K-8.
     

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