California: K-12: Are Los Angeles Unified School District Libraries Headed For Extinction..?
From LA School Report:
Five more LA Unified high schools may divert their funding for teacher librarians this fall as principals decide to spend their budgets on other pressing needs, meaning 15 of the 84 high school libraries would not be fully staffed.
At Tuesday’s school board meeting, the superintendent plans to bring up extra funding for training teacher librarians, and there’s also a resolution on the agenda about National Library Week (which was April 9 – 15), so some of the library issues in the committee report might be discussed and could lead to new stipulations regarding staffing.
“I see this as an equity issue, because the wealthier schools are going to have the families pay for their libraries and the poorer communities won’t be able to,” said George McKenna, one of the board members who indicated at the committee meeting that he would be in favor of requiring principals to fund library positions.
The April 4 report to the Budget, Facilities, and Audit Committee on libraries was delivered in response to concerns brought up last year. Mónica Ratliff, the committee’s chair, had requested the report. Ratliff has championed libraries during her four-year term and earlier had tried to change the educational equity standards by upgrading the libraries to state standards through a Modern Library Task Force.
The report presented numbers on how poorly staffed and how outdated the school libraries are, but it also brought up the issue that some principals are diverting money away from libraries. Already, California is at the lowest librarian-to-student ratio in the nation. And a recent study showed that richer high schools have three times as many librarians as poorer ones.
About Gary Price
Gary Price (email@example.com) 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.