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School Libraries are disappearing?

For those of us paying attention, school libraries have been subjected to a wave of defunding for a while. And the reality is that when a school library goes away, the need for and usage of public libraries goes up. Here is some reading on this topic.

Is the End of the School Library Upon Us? Budget Cuts Hit Librarians Where it Hurts || AlterNet
Citing fiscal pressure, some NYC schools want to use in-classroom libraries and parent volunteers instead of certified librarians. Critics say kids need more than that.

Ranks of school librarians dwindle in HISD, statewide || Houston Chronicle
“Across Texas, the number of certified school librarians like Burgert has dropped 10 percent since 2009, in part because of limited budgets and the growth of digital books. The decline has been particularly sharp in HISD.”

Librarians dwindle in HISD || K-12 Zone blog, Houston Chronicle
Includes a list of HISD schools with certified librarians.

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Public Library/School Library Hybrid

School Library Journal reports that Chicago has opened the Back of the Yards Library, a public library location that’s built specifically to serve as a school library. The school it serves is the new Back of the Yards High School, which is next door.

Staffed with Chicago’s first teen librarians (two part-time staffers share the position), the public library will also have a children’s librarian, plus a branch librarian who is also a K–12 media specialist, who will serve that role at the library for students who come to the branch during class hours. The library shares a wall with the school, but students have to exit their building to enter the branch. Heralded by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, the hybrid archetype is reportedly one he hopes to replicate going forward.

This is an interesting project. In Houston we have a few libraries that are within steps of a school (elementary, middle or high), but none that share facilities like this. I’d look forward to hearing how the project goes as they move into the school year.

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Recommended reading:

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School Library Marketing 101

Today’s recommended reading, “School Library Marketing 101: It’s About Students Not Stuff.” I thought this was relevant since school years are about to start. The writer includes a link to a template and a few steps:

  1. Set some goals.
  2. Create alignment between teaching standards and instructional goals.
  3. Do the work.
  4. Pick some tools.
  5. Create a timeline.
  6. Reflect and review.

The article is a really good read.

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