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.
“Libraries should be the beating heart of the school,
not mausoleums for dusty books.”
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?”