Note: We recently posted another item about the school library situation in Los Angeles and throughout the State of California. See, “Review Finds Hundreds of LA School Libraries Without Staff, Shuttered” (January 16, 2014)
About half of the 600 elementary and middle school libraries are without librarians or aides, denying tens of thousands of students regular access to nearly $100 million worth of books, according to district data.
The crisis has exacerbated educational inequalities across the nation’s second-largest system, as some campuses receive extra money for library staff and others don’t. It has also sparked a prolonged labor conflict with the California School Employees Assn., which represents library aides.
Unified paid for library staff in every school before the recession began in 2008. Today, it provides librarians in high schools but leaves most elementary and middle school campuses to make tough choices on whether to use their limited discretionary funds on library aides, nurses, counselors or other key staff.
Wide disparities have emerged among the system’s seven districts. In the east and southeast Los Angeles area, for instance, 57% of libraries are unstaffed compared to 26% in the district covering south Los Angeles, according to L.A. Unified data.
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