January 28, 2022

Pennsylvania: All Gone! Harrisburg School Library Staff Eliminated With Recent Layoffs

From Penn Live:

The capital city’s public school district started classes Monday without any staffing for their libraries.

Officials say they plan to engage volunteers trained to check out and organize books and other materials.


Reductions in library staff beginning two years ago already have limited access to the facilities for students. While some students didn’t seem to care because they don’t use them, others cited frustration Monday over their inability to freely use the computers and study space afforded by the facilities.


Teachers will still have access to the facilities, but the lack of instruction from trained librarians concerns some Board of School Directors members.

“If there is a real deficiency today, it’s that we no longer have librarians to teach children how to use the library and make the most out of it,” said Jim Thompson, who heads the board’s Budget, Finance & Facilities committee.

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Comment from Gary Price, infoDOCKET Editor

The news story that we just shared is in a word, awful.

Sadly, Harrisburg is not an isolated case.

The same is true elsewhere.

For example, here’s a recent report from the Wall St. Journal about New York City Public Schools using fewer librarians.

While volunteers are appreciated the library community overall has done a poor job explaining what librarians do and are capable of in the 21st century. We must do better.

We’re all members of the community/profession and the type of library you work in should not play a role, we all have to support each other,  a united front works best. The public sees and hears “library” and often (if at all) makes distinctions about the specific type.

We all know and understand the vital importance of school librarians today, they’re more vital than ever. The challenge is essential that we explain and demonstrate this to the public beginning now today.

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.