December 3, 2020

Since 2004-05 School Year, 43% Fewer School Librarians Working in Ohio Public Schools

From the The Columbus Dispatch:

In the past 10 years, the number of librarians, or full-time equivalents, in Ohio public schools has dropped by 43 percent, from 1,628 in the 2004-05 school year to 923 in the 2013-14 year, according to the Ohio Department of Education.

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Many school districts are replacing licensed librarians with aides, volunteers or substitute teachers. Those replacements often aren’t qualified to teach subjects such as media literacy and database research, or aren’t licensed to teach at all.

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“Some school administrators believe that students have access to Internet so they don’t need a library,” said Debra Kachel, professor of school libraries and information technologies at Mansfield University in Pennsylvania. “That’s delusional. It’s a cop-out.”

This misunderstanding, coupled with shrinking school budgets, is leading districts to cut full-time jobs and close school libraries. The situation is even worse for poorer communities — the same communities that benefit more from increased exposure to librarians, she said.

Read the Complete Article

Quick Comment by infoDOCKET Founder/Editor, Gary Price:

You just read one of the reasons for the cuts is the Internet. We’ve all heard this idea on numerous occasions. In other words, with the Internet librarians are no longer needed.  We know this is not only incorrect but just about the exact opposite of what’s needed especially in K-12 schools.

As we’ve mentioned on infoDOCKET in the past, you have to wonder how well the public UNDERSTANDS what a librarian does (across all types of libraries and in non-traditional settings) these days and is capable of doing? If they don’t UNDERSTAND why don’t they?

Bottom Line: We (the library community) are the only ones to blame.

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.

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