Tag: library

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.



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.




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.

School Considers Removing 200 ‘Sexist’ Books From Library

Purging libraries of books considered harmful to children isn’t anything new. It can be for violent content, sexual themes or even due to being written by a controversial author. One group in Barcelona is considering purging books for another big reason: sexism.

The Guardian reported that the Associació Espai i Lleure has reviewed close to 600 books in The Taber School in Barcelona as part of their Library and Gender project, which aims to highlight the hidden sexist content found in most children’s books.

The group found that around 200 of the books at the school’s library contained hidden sexist themes. As a result, the books is considering removing from the library. Some of the removed books include Little Red Riding Hood and Sleeping Beauty.

The group said that the purpose of this review was not to target specific books, but to address the larger issue of sexism in children’s books. There have been studies conducted about gender bias in children’s books, in which males are more likely to be the protagonist of a children’s story and get more speaking roles than female characters. Espai i Lleure hopes to shine a light on the casual sexism in certain stories in order for children to learn these earlier in life in order to counter sexism when they are older.

You can read for about the group’s efforts here.

Do you agree with what Espai i Lleure is doing?



Featured Image Via Pacific Standard

Harry Krame in a chair, smiling in a library

Patron Returns 53-Year-Overdue Library Book

It’s 1966 (not really, but just go with it), Lyndon Johnson is president, Vietnam protests are in full swing, and you’re 13 years old. Walking into your local library, you scan your school’s book shelves until you eye Lewis Gannett’s The Family Book Of Verse.

Cover of Lewis Gannett's "The Family Book Of Verse"

Image Via Amazon

It’s a poetry collection, and in the introduction Lewis Gannett explains that the poems were selected based on how they enjoyable they were and how pleasing to the ear they were if read aloud. It’s a book any child could get into – and so you check it out.

Then life happens.

A Clock

Image Via Shutterstock

Now it’s 53 years later and you go downstairs to clean our your basement and—to your amazement—you find Lewis Gannett’s The Family Book Of Verse.

What do you do?

Harry Krame beside a cover of Lewis Gannet's "The Family Book Of Verse"

Image Via Daily News

This is the exact predicament New Jersey Fair Lawn resident Harry Krame found himself in. Guess when Kirkus Reviews said that Lewis Gannett’s The Family Book Of Verse had a selection of poets that “for the most part not only familiar but established favorites which should ensure the longevity of a collection such as this for home libraries” they were right on the money.

A stack of books

Image Via wusa9

65 years old, Mr. Krame knew he had three options: Forget about it, burn it, or return it.

Well, he couldn’t burn the book. That’s just plain evil, and if you burn a book then the book Gods will come after you—and that’s a fact.

So in reality he had two options: Forget about the book or return it, and at 19,345 days overdue the book’s $2,000 late fee was worth more than the $4.95 it cost when published in 1961.

Know which option he chose?

Child shrugging

Image Via Bing

Of course he returned the book, setting an example to his family, his town, and everyone else who learns about his story.

I mean, If he didn’t then this would be a really weird article.

Everyone was shocked. NY Daily News writes that Memorial Middle School Vice Principal Dominick Tarquinio “was stunned when the now-65-year-old adult entered the school with something to return”. Luckily he wasn’t speechless, because when he asked the 65-year-old man’s name, Harry Krame knew just what to say: “I told him I can’t give it to him because I was in the witness protection program.”

Dominick Tarquinio of Fair Lawn

Image Via North Jersey

Jokes aside, School librarian Susan Murray saw an opportunity. KLEW writes that Ms. Murray “plans to use the book for a display to teach students about returning books”.

Well, now the story has gone viral, let’s hope the whole country learns that lesson.

As for the $2,000 dollar fine? NBC Philadelphia writes that Principal Dominick Tarquinio told them, “the district will let it slide.”

Good things do happen in the world—you just have to make the right decision.


Featured Image Via WTOC

Check Out This Amazing Digital Library

Malay Mail reports that Penang Digital Library is challenging the traditional library setting by developing a library that has no books.

The library is a two-storey building, the first phase of which was a teacher’s main office next to Penang Free School used by students as a place to study. The newly-opened second phase expands to a different part of the building.

Tan Bee Eu is the architect who poses a model replica for the recently opened Penang Digital Library in George Town. She developed the concept of having a ‘library in a park,’ and notes how the rainwater harvest tank present on the grounds of the Digital Library collects rainwater which is used to water the trees, lawns and flowerbeds.


Image via malaymail.com


“I want a connection to nature so that the library has this whole natural feel to it from the lawn, the trees and the pocket parks,” she said. “They can also allow their young children to run around the lawn and the playground by the side.”


Image via malaymail.com


The Anglo-Indian style building only could fit eighty people, but due to its popularity, expansion was necessary. An annexe was also constructed to create more reading space and the hall which can be used for events accommodates up to 540 people at a time. There is also a lounge where people can eat and replenish before going back to their studies or work.

The annexe is beautiful, with its clear windows, sofas, and elegant glass ceiling with a pretty view of the park and lawn, as well as cubicles for people who want to do their work privately.


Image via malaymail.com


Image Via Malaymail.com


“We provide a range of space of different reading experiences, in booths, on sofas, cubicles, at the high tables and the bay windows to suit every need so users can read or work at ease,” Tan said. “We want a space for the community to come together, a space for families with young children and youths.”

The Penang Digital Library ‘s second phase covers 16,000 square feet and is open daily from 8am to 10pm.


Featured Image Via Penangdigitallibrary.com