July 24, 2014

California: “San Francisco Public School Libraries Don’t Go by the Book”

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It feels good to be able to pass along a positive article about what’s going on with school libraries in San Francisco especially since what’s going on there is the opposite of what’s happening around the state and in many other parts of the U.S.

From the The Examiner (San Francisco):

If you asked San Francisco teacher-librarian Lisa Bishop, she could write a book on the importance of public schools staffing full-time librarians.

Though considered by many to be a staple in a child’s education, full-time librarians are being hired by fewer and fewer public schools in California each year for at least the past decade.

In fact, California has the worst ratio of teacher-librarians to students in the U.S., including Puerto Rico, said Rachelle Resnick, the San Francisco Unified School District’s program administrator for library services.

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This year, the district will have 71 full-time librarians, up from 67 in 2013-14. That puts the ratio roughly at one teacher-librarian per 750 students, while the statewide average in 2011-12 — the most recent year for which data were available — was 1-to-7,374 for the 36 percent of schools that completed an online survey.

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The secret to San Francisco’s success is the Public Education Enrichment Fund, a product of the ballot initiative Proposition H that was approved by city voters in 2004. PEEF, a 10-year initiative that’s due to expire this year, ensures a certain amount of city money is set aside annually for designated educational needs.

In 2012-13, PEEF’s budget allocated $5.8 million that accounted for nearly all library services in the SFUSD. A teacher-librarian’s salary in San Francisco ranges from about $50,000 to $80,000 per year.

Read the Complete Article

See Also: “Many L.A. Unified School Libraries, Lacking Staff, are Forced to Shut” (February 24, 2014)

See Also: “Review Finds Hundreds of LA School Libraries Without Staff, Shuttered” (January 16, 2014)

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Gary Price About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.