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A DARK CHAPTER FOR STUDENTS: GUHSD BOARD TO VOTE THURSDAY ON CUTTING ALL SCHOOL LIBRARIANS




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Update March 11:  Trustee Dick Hoy provided this update on the vote.  

"The item involving issuing layoff notices was split in two.  Librarians were voted on separately.  The vote to issue layoff/reassignment notices to teachers and Vice Principals passed 4-1--Hoy dissenting.  The vote to reassign librarians passed 3-2--Hoy and Schrieber dissenting. .. It should be posted soon.  They were difficult decisions for each member of the board."  A video of the meeting will be posted soon on the GUHSD website, he advised.

 

“…Schools with librarians have their students achieve better on standardized tests than those that don’t.” – Nancy Everhart, president, American Association of School Libraries

 

 

By Jeremy Los

March 7, 2011 (San Diego’s East County) – High school libraries across East County will soon be losing services of trained librarians, if proposed budget cuts are approved Thursday by the Grossmont Union High School District board.  As California struggles to dig itself out of a massive budget hole, the board must also contend with massive budget gaps. 

 

“As I understand the proposal,” Grossmont Union High School District Board Vice President Dick Hoy told East County Magazine, “all librarian positions will be cut.”

 

If the librarians are laid off, school libraries will continue to stay open for students to check out books. As for who will maintain and run the libraries, that job would then fall to the library techs on hand.  Without trained librarians, library instructional programs will go by the way side as well. Library techs are not certified to carry out these educational programs, leaving students and teachers without this valuable resource.

 

This is a terrible move in the eyes of Nancy Everhart, who is the President of the American Association of School Libraries.

 

“They would be eliminating an educator, someone who teaches students to find and use effective information,” said Everhart in an interview with ECM. “In a test-oriented society, schools with librarians have their students achieve better on standardized tests than those who don’t."

 

While critics have suggested that the district has some extra funds in this year’s budget that might be used to forestall such drastic measures, Hoy says that is not entirely true.

 

“We have received some one-time federal funding,” said Hoy. “Some of those funds, though, are being used to help mitigate the potential cuts that we would have to do next year.”

 

There is no arguing that the district is in a no-win situation as it continues to struggle through the financial burdens of the great recession. Hoy insists that the districts is doing all in its power to limit the amount of lay-offs that the GUHSD may have to hand down, as the number of teachers who potentially may being laid off in the coming months is in the 30-40 range.

 

All cuts are just proposed at the moment, Catherine Martin at the GUHSD has has indicated. No employees can receive pink slips until the board takes action.

 

The board’s next meeting is scheduled for Thursday March, 10 at 4:00 pm at the East County Regional Educational Center, 924 East Main Street in El Cajon. The budget will be discussed and the board will take action on lay-off notices, Martin confirmed. 
 

Who will guide our children now?

My best memories have always been of libraries! When I was a child and my mother introduced me to my local library, pointing me to the shelves of books that were now "mine," a whole world opened up for me. I worked in my Junior High and High School libraries and the librarians were my teachers with a much broader curriculum, helping me find the right information to write my essays and term papers. Showing me paths to better ways to study. I still work in libraries (both public and legal). I watch children, teens and young adults subsumed by the viral world of the internet. Some are genuinely studying, but most are playing video games or are on Facebook and MySpace! Many have no clue what the Dewey Decimal System is and would have no idea how to find a specific subject in the non-fiction section if it weren't for the librarian.

The most frightening of trends is towards online versus hands on! To imagine the world without the heft and feel of a book, the subtle whisper of a page being turned, the visual artwork of words etched on paper!

A librarian is a guide to the world of knowledge. Who will help the young student struggling to get a good grade when teachers are already overwhelmed? Who will help foreign students struggling to understand their newly adopted language?

You open up the imagination when you open up a book! The arts should be one of the last things cut! I weep!

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