About Survival

Financial constraints have led schools to correctly focus on instructional necessities and unfortunately cut costs in school libraries, which are not often seen as priority expenses. In Alberta, there are very few teacher-librarians employed in the public school system. Instead, school libraries are managed by dedicated non-professional and often untrained staff who, especially in rural areas, often have only a few hours per week to devote to the myriad of responsibilities that the job entails.

Professional development is scarce, funding for it even rarer and even networking is difficult as each person struggles to maintain a quality service. For the sake of the students and our sanity, we must find ways to make the best of a difficult situation. We must help each other discover what we can do and find the best ways to do it. We must also discover and acknowledge what we cannot do. We must ask for the assistance of professionals who, while struggling themselves to find meaningful and acceptable positions, are willing to share their experience and knowledge with us.

β€œLibraries should be the beating heart of the school,
not mausoleums for dusty books.”
Stephanie Harvey

Addendum Sept/2013 Read this ALSC article by Kelly on the importance of maintaining professional staff in the Library Learning Commons.

“Who leads the staff learning on emerging technologies? Who teaches students about digital citizenship, allowing teachers to focus on core curriculum? Who builds a community of learners by creating programs that bridge across the core curriculum?”


9 responses to “About Survival

  1. Makes one wonder about the values of the folks cutting the budgets and staff.
    Perhaps some political drawing and quartering is in order?

    • Don’t we try! Just read this quote at http://kishizuka.tumblr.com/
      “Publishing, whether it is traditional publishers, self publishers, digital first publishers, needs to invest in early reading for two reasons. First, early readers become paying adult readers. Second, early readers become adept adult writers. Both readers and writers are needed for a healthy publishing ecosystem and investment in fostering the love of reading and writing is vital. There is no better place to do this than by investing in libraries.”

  2. Funny, I read the quote and realized that was what I had been thinking the whole time…
    ~ Lynda

  3. Hi Cindy, you always post great information and commentary. Funding cutbacks to education have impacted all areas of education and it’s not only the students who are affected at the classroom level. The organization I work for has created a new charity to help teachers and students get the resources they need. It’s called MyClassNeeds (MyClassNeeds.ca) and while we may not be able to assist teachers develop professionally we can help them gain access to the resources they need to help their students have a more enriching learning experience. I hope you’ll check out the website and help spread the word.

    • I’m already on it, Reanne. πŸ™‚ I heard about your organization through Curriculum.org and have passed in on to my teachers, one of whom is thinking about registering a project. I will keep my ears open for other mentions of funding needs and keep you in mind. Thanks for stopping in though and I hope the charity takes off in a big way.

  4. I always assumed that this was a northern hemisphere problem, but apparently this is beginning to happen downunder as well – I recently heard that it is now not compulsory for schools to have a dedicated teacher-librarian. BOO! At least our public library system is going super strong here – they’d have a fight on their hands if they tried to cut funds there! (Oh,. and congratulations on your Gargie Award πŸ˜‰ )

    • Glad to hear your public libraries do well and am pleased to say that although the funding could always be better, ours are fairly well supported also. It amazes me that school districts are so ready to ignore continuing research that proves that the presence of a good teacher-librarian in a school can make a huge difference to student achievement. I suspect that the shift to technological delivery is a large factor, with schools and districts unaware that librarians can facilitate the navigation this new jungle of resources in the same way they have with print.

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