Pennsylvania: Number of School Librarians Way Down in Allentown Public Schools
From The Morning Call:
In December 2011, Donna Forsythe stood before the Allentown School Board and proclaimed that the district’s school libraries were in a “state of crisis.”
Budget cuts had eliminated nine of the 13 elementary school librarians and book circulation was declining. Students at some elementary schools could chose only select titles stacked on a cart and pushed from room to room by a teacher’s aide, said Forsythe, then the Trexler Middle School librarian.
“Do we want our own children to attend a school that doesn’t have a library?” Forsythe asked that night, hoping to start a dialogue about strengthening school libraries.
Of course, district officials say, they want to have school libraries. But at Allentown, which has eliminated more than 350 jobs over the past four years and is considering cutting 100 more, money stands in the way.
Librarians have become a luxury the district believes it can scarcely afford. So Forsythe now splits time between two schools.
There is no plan to cut librarians in the current budget proposal but that may be because there are few left to cut.
A single librarian oversees all 15 elementary schools. Four middle schools share two librarians, who spend the majority of their time teaching a library skills course instead of managing what was once the center of all information.
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See Also: Pennsylvania: All Gone! Harrisburg School Library Staff Eliminated With Recent Layoffs
About Gary Price
Gary Price (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. He earned his MLIS degree from Wayne State University in Detroit. Price has won several awards including the SLA Innovations in Technology Award and Alumnus of the Year from the Wayne St. University Library and Information Science Program. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com.