This past week has been heartbreaking for school librarians across Whatcom county. First, a few days ago came the news that ALL of the Ferndale Public School District’s (FPS) School Librarians were being laid off [update: Herald Article]. This follows recent years where their numbers had been significantly reduced and was met with great sadness by the local FPS parents I talked to. The total loss of school librarians to a small community like Ferndale will the crushing. My co-workers at the Ferndale public library have already begun brainstorming ways to help out staff/students/parents but of course, we will not be receiving increased funding to do so. This is work that will simply have to be absorbed along with the increased circulation and resource use we’ve experienced over the past few years.
In addition to the total loss of school librarians in Ferndale, my own school district (Bellingham) announced the reduction in the number of elementary school librarians district wide. I have a son in elementary school in Bellingham, I’ve also volunteered in his elementary school library and personally know the school’s sole librarian. I am distraught. The Bellingham Herald has published an article this Sunday about the various cuts. Already over 30 people have chimed in with various and sundry opinions – a great demonstration of community freedom of speech in action.
Already next year my son and all the elementary public school children are facing a shortened school day and loss of gym and music (or art I forget which – but in either case its bad news). Children learn best when they are allowed to run around occasionally. It doesn’t take away from the exercise they get outside of school – but the daily benefits of in-school exercise are lost.
I have yet to talk to my school librarian – I’m almost afraid to hear first hand how bad this is for her and my school. And the cuts will keep coming due to our state’s budget woes. A complete list of BSD cuts can be found here.
As we race toward a reduction of public services at all levels, I am reminded again about how it is always the regular people (who rely on public schools, health, housing, etc) who suffer the hardest. I like my public roads, public parks, public police, public fire, transportation, libraries and schools. Who benefits from all this reduction? Not ordinary citizens who enjoy being able to drive to work – take walks in the park – pull themselves up by their bootstraps through access to public education.
From the interwebs:
“A Nation without School Librarians
View A Nation without School Librarians in a larger map”
Even more research can be found at the Library Research Services website: [http://www.lrs.org/impact.php] .