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On school library resurgence: Craig maps the trend
Back in 2010 I posted about Shonda Brisco’s library crisis map, A Nation without School Librarians.
Back in April, SLJ‘s Rebecca Miller shared her optimism about crisis reversal.
In her editorial, Now Hiring: Recent Wins on School Library Positions Spark Optimism, Rebecca notes a trend toward reestablishing school library positions in such places as St. Paul, Bellevue, Hadley MA.
Not only are jobs opening up, the positioning of these roles is strategically powerful. There’s an emphasis on curricular support in light of standards, technology instruction, and, of course, information literacy—all connected to building or district leadership. They are complex, demanding jobs, which put librarians (although their title might be “research technology specialist” or “media specialist”) right where they belong, at the center of learning.
Of course, the jobs didn’t just appear from nowhere. The backstories are unique, but they involve advocacy from engaged parents who get what librarians do . . . The general outlook has been bleak, but I can’t help seeing the good news here. Learn from these examples of roles redefined and positions won, and tell us if you are seeing similar wins, large or small, in your districts.
I see jobs coming through network alerts nearly every day. In the news we’ve heard recently that the Michigan State Board of Education recently passed a Statement Supporting School Libraries. DC Public Schools is investing in school library programs. New York State’s Education Commissioner, John King ordered the city to hire school librarians at the secondary level to meet state regulations.
I’m hopeful that in sharing examples of schools, districts and states that are restoring, re-hiring and redesigning the role of teacher-librarian in our schools, we can build momentum for that narrative to prevail.
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
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