May 23, 2022

California: Modesto Public Schools Considers Cutting Most Elementary School Librarians

From The Modesto Bee:

Modesto City Schools is poised to cut 29 full-time teaching positions for next year, including most elementary school librarians. The long-standing program that taught students the Dewey Decimal System and how to find reference books may be replaced by teaching computer skills and online data searches.


“We will still have school libraries, and students will still have access to books and materials,” board Vice President Amy Neumann said by phone Thursday.

“What I support, and we are proposing, is to eliminate library instruction time. As an elementary school mom and board member, I believe that this is a better use of precious instruction time. If approved by our unions, library skills time will be replaced with computer technical instruction from a credentialed teacher. This kind of instruction is crucial to student success on the Common Core Smarter Balance tests that will be implemented next year,” Neumann added in an email.

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A Few Thoughts From Gary

You mean librarians aren’t qualified for teaching basic computer skills and resources that go beyond hitting specific keys?

Will topics such as online information credibility, web search, social media skills, and online privacy be taught? These and other skills transcend the specific technology a school may offer and knowledge of them is more important than ever before. School librarians should have a major role in digital literacy/info literacy education. Info technology is a wonderful tool but not THE solution.

Also, why does the incorrect belief that school libraries and librarians are about books and ONLY books continue? Why can’t this be changed?

Btw, Modesto school libraries and librarians are not the only ones in California facing challenging times.

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About Gary Price

Gary Price ( 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, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.