It is such a deep sterotype that even in 2015, any librarian is just a keeper of books, that intelligent people think the Internet solves all just by its mere existence. That logic is akin to to ‘guns don’t kill, people do’ or that simply writing seat belt legislation stops automobile injury. Clearly, the education lobby that ignores the value added services of a teacher-librarian, in favour of only an adoption of more technology, is very misguided or doesn’t understand how students grow. People only know what they know- and unless one has experienced the exemplary school library program in action, they easily adopt flawed assumptions. Like the vintage photo below, the endearing imagery has become a barrier to reality. Not nurturing school libraries will indeed close libraries because these invaluable services are not frills but integral enterprises to any progressive schools. If the Internet and all its gargantuan bytes of noise were the answer then why have schools at all? Why should we desire coaches, piano teachers, doctors? Why not just ‘google everything? What have priests or mechanics? Why not just let us all be moulded by the machine? Technocractic oppression is still tyranny. Our children need more than a screen to look at, they need a mind that critiques and assesses right from wrong and truth from myth. Isn’t that what we want?
In the broad constellation of professionals who make up public schools, it is important to pause and acknowledge the forgotten education professionals who aide and support teachers. These include the librarians, nurses, social workers, learning specialists, and guidance counselors. They contribute to the growth and development of our young people but often find themselves left out of broader discussions about the preservation of public education. They provide a range of critical support and intervention frequently invisible to us. Most certainly, their value has escaped the notice of so-called education reformers and politicians. All too often, these champions of a “new order” have taken aim at the forgotten teachers in their ever-expanding quest to cut public school funding.
“…With the advent of the internet and digital resources in particular,
the flawed assumption surfaced that these positions are no longer necessary. “
….To be clear, budget and personnel cuts have hurt the profession across the board. However, professionals in these areas bear greater risk, given widespread misperceptions about the essential services they provide that remain vital to public schools. …
Another equally hard hit position is that of the school librarian. Fifty years ago, it was inconceivable to imagine schools without appropriate library resources and the personnel to staff them. The disparity in library facilities, for instance, helped civil rights attorneys demonstrate the inherent inequality in segregated schools. With the advent of the internet and digital resources in particular, the flawed assumption surfaced that these positions are no longer necessary. Librarians remain important conduits for student support in ways that many might be surprised to learn. Contrary to popular perception, librarians do more than curate collections of dusty books; they teach critical research skills and often serve as the first destination for young people on the road to quality research.(Williams, Huffingtonpost)
Story Time. Image. Vintage Librarians. Christchurch City Libraries. Web. 11 Mar. 2015. <https://www.flickr.com/photos/christchurchcitylibraries/sets/ 72157633383010966/>.
Williams, Yohuru. “Sense and Sensibility: Why Librarians Remain Essential to Our Schools.” The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 2 Jan. 2015. Web. 12 Mar. 2015. <http://www.huffingtonpost.com/yohuru-williams/sense-and-sensibility-why_b_6409076.html>.