Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools has been shedding school librarians faster than any district in North Carolina over the past five years, and there’s a debate going on about whether that makes a difference for students.
This year, 31 of the district’s 168 schools have libraries led by staffers other than media specialists, who have master’s degrees and specialized training to run libraries.
Superintendent Ann Clark says that media specialists have “tremendous value” and that school libraries remain a vital part of each school. But as literacy – digital and print – permeates the entire school day, she says she’s willing to give principals flexibility to decide what combination of staffing and credentials works best for their schools. In some cases, that means libraries are run by assistants, technology teachers or testing specialists.
The state’s two largest districts show very different trends. During those five years, Wake County logged a slight increase, from 196 to 200 media specialists. Last year, Wake had 171 schools, according to the state report.
During that same time, CMS dropped from 154 to 128 media specialists, a 17.5 percent change. Last year, CMS had 164 schools.
See Also: Vanishing CMS Librarian (Video)