Sunday, January 16, 2011

Is The Vanishing of School Libraries Only A Public School Problem?

Recently, I read a post by Geekandahalf regarding ereaders in schools. There has been a lot of talk about rise of the ebook, which if you remember has been going on for probably over 10 years once people realized they can digitize everything. There was an article that Geekandahalf linked too called "Libraries Vanishing From Schools" which I shared on one of the list-servs I'm a part of. I received a number of responses that were basically mocking my posting of the article. They focused on the editorial errors and not the issue. One of the responses I received stated that "the content doesn't have much to do with the Independent school world." I have to disagree. Maybe it is not an immediate problem but it will become a problem. For example, lets look at Cushing Academy and the controversy over the library going bookless. If there are no books, why do you need a professional librarian? Also, I have met a number of people, at an independent school librarian conference, who were not professional librarians. I also have to mention that this school year, a librarian left an independent school in our area and was replaced by one of the teachers. So, do we need to worry? Is this an issue already that we are just ignoring? My answer is "Yes." Once the trained librarian disappears, the classes we teach disappears. I'm not saying that these people cannot do the job, they can. But what we do is not measurable in AP scores and it is difficult to justify to a school board, whether it's at a public school or independent school, why so much money needs to be spent on books other than those used for specific classes or why you need a librarian to teach certain skills that cannot be tested. I think, it's pretty short sighted to think that this is only a public school problem.


Elisabeth Abarbanel said...

I agree with you - we all need to be concerned and make our libraries models so people have something to look to when they are deciding how to evolve or change with the technology changes. Our programs and our teaching need to justify our existence. Thanks for posting that article to the listserv.

Phoenix Peacock said...

there is no replacement for a book in your hands