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Karen, on saving our staff

This morning, Karen Kliegman tweeted about her powerful and compelling argument to retain support staff for her elementary library program, and the district. I asked if I could share it here because I suspect it will help other make the case on behalf of our learners.

Without staffing, our professional hands are tied. Our powers are severely limited.

In her Five Reasons Not to Cut Library Assistants, ala David Letterman, Karen explains that without support staff, librarians would be “chained to their desks” and doors would be closed:

Without our library assistants, we would be forced to close our libraries whenever we are not there. We would also have to close the door when we have classes, as there would not be anyone to assist students or teachers while we are with a class. Small groups could not come in to use the resources of the library as there would not be anyone to oversee them.

Karen provides a little background:

Andrew Cuomo’s major budget cuts are forcing school districts to make tough decisions. In my district, one of the things on the line, depending on what the Board decides, are the library assistants in all three elementary school and in the middle school. Also, our library budget (temporarily – for a year or two).

The presentation describes the duties of library aides, and their impact on the building and the program.

Our library assistants are our right arms. I am grateful that our administration recognizes that teacher-librarians are essential and valuable; that being said, without our library assistants, we would be hard-pressed to continue to provide the 21st Century learning environment we have worked so hard to create.

Joyce Valenza About Joyce Valenza

Joyce is an Assistant Professor of Teaching at Rutgers University School of Information and Communication, a technology writer, speaker, blogger and learner. Follow her on Twitter: @joycevalenza


  1. Karen Rydell says:

    Good for you for sticking up for your assistants and students! Unfortunately, the cuts have already been made in our district. We finally passed a bond to get brand new libraries and labs but now they are closed most of the time due to cuts. I guess having a beautiful room the public can see is more important than having trained librarians the children/staff can utilize. What a shame! Keep fighting to keep libraries open!
    Karen Rydell
    Former Media Para-educator
    Lapeer, Michigan

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