Spokane Public Schools Turn a Cold Shoulder to Librarians

Remember your favorite school librarian?

In Spokane, Washington, future students might grow up not knowing what a librarian does.

Two weeks ago, the Spokane, Washington Public Schools superintendent announced that librarians in public schools will be laid off before the academic year begins again in the fall, although the libraries themselves—generally very large rooms with hundreds of books and programs and resources that students need assistance navigating—will remain.

 

Library

Image vIA eLLA’S lIST

 

Students will still have the opportunity to visit their school’s library, even if there’s no one to help them use it. As for library services, teachers will be expected to perform the librarians’ old duties—in addition to being teachers—while their students are visiting the library, according to The Spokesman-Review.

Just to be clear, school librarians often have degrees in library science and have been thoroughly trained in the instruction of research applications that library patrons have the option to use. The void left by a mass-migration of trained school librarians cannot be filled by giving the keys to teachers who already have full-time jobs outside the library.

 

image

 

Librarians are not guaranteed replacement positions in the public school system once they have been ousted from their jobs, although some librarians with suitable experience might be placed as teachers in the schools and communities that need them most. 

Specifically, the district’s choice to cut librarians out of the budget comes after the announcement for a $31 million deficit for the year; generally, across the country, more and more school districts are eliminating librarian positions, and more librarians are switching to part-time work. 

 

Library Closed for Budget Cuts

 

 

Another recent article from The Spokesman-Review claims public schools with more low-income students will be hit far harder by the layoffs than schools which serve more middle-and high-income families; in other words, more librarians will be removed from communities where students are already receiving subsidized school lunches, and from which librarians and other school faculty are leaving en masse for ‘better’ schools and neighborhoods.

Teachers are seeing salary increases with the elimination of librarians, with some employees receiving a 10-15% bonus.

 

Featured image via Wikimedia Commons.