Why I Am Not Signing The “Save Libraries” Petition

A steady barrage of listserv messages, tweets, Facebook postings, and blog entries have been making the rounds in recent weeks urging people to sign a petition that states the following:

“Any school receiving Federal funds should be required to have a credentialed School Librarian on staff full time with a library that contains a minimum of 18 books per student. Failure to have a school library open to all students and/or failure to have a credentialed School Librarian to run that library should be punishable by a immediate withdrawal of all Federal monies.

Study after study has shown that well-stocked, well-funded, well-organized school libraries staffed by a “highly qualified” School Librarian, or other similarly qualified credentialed individual, improve student reading scores, test scores, and literacy rates. All children have the right to read and to have access to materials that will help them grow as learners and as people. No Library = No Freedom to Learn.”

While I know the intent was noble and well-intended in creating this petition, petitions like these are often a slippery slope, so I’m going to be politically incorrect and offer a dissenting perspective.  We need to advocate for more than  being “properly staffed, open, and available for children every day” because truly effective school librarians and programs go beyond staffing, accessibility, and materials.  I assert that a “credentialed” school librarian and 18 books won’t guarantee an effective or relevant library program.  These criteria are a gross and superficial oversimplification of the complexity of cultivating meaningful library programs and the possibilities for school libraries in a learning community.  Plenty of schools have “credentialed” school librarians who are ineffective on many levels—pinning language to such a narrow term that unfortunately can’t equate “credentialed” with highly qualified is problematic.

It’s also a false premise  that either of those requirements will guarantee or help deliver an effective library program that is worth a public school losing federal monies/funding.  Here in Georgia, we have a state requirement that calls for every school library to be staffed by a certified school library media specialist [see specific rules requiring media center staffing here and here as well as state of Georgia code], but some school districts participating in the state IE Squared program (which among other things, gives districts more spending flexibility), like our neighboring Forsyth County District, have received waivers from the state that gave them permission to eliminate school librarians from a number of their elementary schools.  This example illustrates how districts will find ways to circumvent mandates when it serves their economic challenges or educational philosophy.  I hate to sound cynical, but in these economically-challenged times, I think it’s realistic to expect many states or school districts would seek waivers to such mandates or even worse, lower the bar for what it takes to be “credentialed” as a school library media specialist in that state.

I’d also rather have seen language in the petition that emphasized tools and mediums for learning, not just books—by privileging a requirement of 18 books, we continue to perpetuate and privilege the stereotype (or what grains of truth are in that stereotype, I wonder?) of the library as a book warehouse rather than the library as a place of learning.  As many of you know from your own state and regional accreditation agency mandates, requiring a certain number of books rarely results in funding for a rich, current collection (which should be more than just print for learners of all ages).  At my last high school, we met the now-defunct requirement for 10 books on paper, but guess what?  Because previous library staff was afraid to weed the collection regularly due to insufficient funding to purchase new and timely materials to replace the weeded materials, we had a collection with an average copyright date in the 1970s; this  phenomenon is sadly commonplace across the country.

Additionally, studies referenced in the language of the petition don’t actually show a definitive cause and effect between a “well-stocked, well-funded, well-organized school libraries staffed by a ‘highly qualified’ school librarian or other similarly qualified credentialed individual”  [what does "other similarly qualified credentialed individual" mean?], and the  improvement of “student reading scores, test scores, and literacy rates”.  While these popular and oft-referenced studies show correlation between the two, they do not show an direct actual cause and effect; to actually prove such would be exceedingly difficult as there are many variables in what contributes to academic achievement, and defining what counts as excellence  in these areas can even be debated.   While the reference of many of the popular studies has proven effective as a form of library advocacy in some states and districts, on the whole they have failed to convincingly sway stakeholders on a national scale.  Perhaps the time has come to concede that while these studies do yield useful data with important implications, they don’t have the definitive data decision makers are seeking.  As a profession, I hope we will  point to more data (qualitative) in addition to standardized test scores as a measure of the impact of school libraries on teaching and learning.  If there are quantitative or qualitative studies that show direct, unequivocal cause and effect of school library programs and student achievement, I would appreciate any links or publication information for such studies.

I do not mean any disrespect to those who think this petition will make a difference, but I would encourage us a profession to unpack the language and assumptions laden in the wording of this petition before we write off lack of participation in this petition as apathy or indifference.  I’d encourage each of us to contemplate what exactly this petition actually means and the values about school libraries implied before we market this petition as something that will actually ensure the highest quality of school library services because it most certainly doesn’t guarantee that.   We would all love a simple fix to the challenges our profession is facing, but the reality is that it’s going to take more than being federally mandated on paper for us to gain real and meaningful traction in being regarded as a relevant and necessary component of a successful school–that is the real elephant in the little red schoolhouse.  The challenge of changing perceptions about the role and value of school librarians and school library programs is not an easy endeavor as we try to position ourselves as learning specialists and teachers who are as valuable as any content area teacher–I think our time may be better spent engaging in some honest dialogue and open, candid critique about what is working and what is not as a profession in taking on this challenge rather than counting on a federal mandate to “save” us or our programs.  The mandate that will yield the most powerful and authentic impact we need to grow and sustain effective school library programs that contribute to school learning communities must ultimately come from the administrators, school board members, teachers, students, and parents we serve as that is where the true power of “buy in” lies, not in a federal mandate forced upon schools.

37 thoughts on “Why I Am Not Signing The “Save Libraries” Petition

  1. Hi Buffy,

    You did a great job articulating many of the same issues I was having with petition. Thanks for your thoughtful reflection. We all want great libraries – I just not sure this is a very effective way of getting them!

    Doug

    PS. I like your bravery as well.

  2. Well said. Correlations don’t count. I have found that when a LMS is challenging, engaging, visionary, and in the forefront in creating a curriculum of developing truly curious, thoughtful, creative, and questioning life-long learners, the entire school takes on the vision. Following the lead of the librarian the teachers begin to expect more and engage in higher level thinking lessons, the administration knows it can be done and is supportive of increased resources, and, most importantly, the students expect more of their experience in school. To think that we are the cause of “better testing” is not even something I want people associate with my profession. There are amazing librarians doing it with few resources, and the opposite exists as well.

  3. Coming from California, I know that the originator of the petition is fed up with libraries being devalued statewide. Here, an Elementary level Teacher-Librarian is an aberration, many elementary school libraries (book collections) are being tended to and staffed by classified employees. Many of these classified employees are great and do well with the “book stuff” so many of our districts see as the charge of a library.

    We in California do need to highlight the fact that although books do have information, so do blogs, tweets, databases, websites, ebooks et al.

    And we do need to highlight our teaching and the great amount of qualitative data that we can accumulate and use powerfully to show that what we do for students, what we teach students, can affect them profoundly and make them wonderful, ethical users and creators of ideas and information.

    We do battle the book stereotype. We need to get into the information stereotype.

    Thanks, Buffy. I signed the petition because we are desperate here. Grasping at straws for anything that will make this state more sane. But education, not legislation, will most likely move those mountains.

  4. Hi Buffy– I appreciate your post. You make some very valid points. I think that this petition could have been worded more effectively, but with all the trouble with the site’s glitchiness I’d hate to lose the signers we do have and ask them to do it again.
    I would also respectfully point out that you work in a state where there are staffing mandates– I do not. California is 50th of the 50 states in staffing. I work as the sole Teacher Librarian and serve 2600 students. A friend of mine works in your state at a school with 1400 and there are two credentialed Teacher Librarians at her school. Meanwhile, my good friend, Marie Slim is the sole Teacher Librarian for 6 high schools in her district here in California. For us, just opening the dialogue with the President’s administration would be a good start.
    The petition that exists is merely a starting point of a conversation with the President. It isn’t perfect, but I’d sure hate to try to reword and not get people to sign and have the whole movement fail over some wording that can be tweaked and managed when the conversation actually happens.

  5. Hey there Buffy:

    I hear what you are saying, but the part that made me sign is —

    “Failure to have a school library open to all students and/or failure to have a credentialed School Librarian to run that library should be punishable by a immediate withdrawal of all Federal monies.”

    I know of so many schools that have a library that is *locked* for many if not all of the hours of the school day. Perhaps there is a credentialed librarian somewhere in the building (or somewhere in the district), but the space isn’t available to the kids.

    Conversations need to be started outside of the realm of those of us who know better. This may be one of the ways to get things started!

    Respectfully,

    Stacy

  6. Congratulations!
    Your words also fit to the German discussion. Some library officials are convinced that certain amounts of books and media and chartered librarians will automatically improve student achievement.
    Grettings
    GS

  7. You are such a fresh and welcome “breeze” in my life and I’m sure many others Buffy. I love your daily blogs and willingness to alert those of us who are book
    lovers, and not librarians, to how lucky we are to have librarians that are UNQUIET like you.

    Enjoy a well deserved rest and keep the posts coming.

    I’ve become an avid follower to be sure.

  8. I recently started following your blog, and although I’m not a school librarian (I work in a public library systems office), two of your points really resonated with me:

    “…we continue to perpetuate and privilege the stereotype (or what grains of truth are in that stereotype, I wonder?) of the library as a book warehouse rather than the library as a place of learning.” and

    “We would all love a simple fix to the challenges our profession is facing, but the reality is that it’s going to take more than being federally mandated on paper for us to gain real and meaningful traction in being regarded as a relevant and necessary component of a successful school–that is the real elephant in the little red schoolhouse. The challenge of changing perceptions about the role and value of school librarians and school library programs is not an easy endeavor as we try to position ourselves as learning specialists and teachers who are as valuable as any content area teacher.”

    I recently wrote about the same two things from a public library perspective and identifying ebooks as the “easy fix” panacea for the huge challenges that public libraries face, which are greater than any one thing and stem mostly from a (mis) perception that we are no longer relevant.

    All types of libraries have to work together to change perceptions, and it won’t be easy.

    You make some really great points in your post. I’m glad I started following!

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  10. Thank you, Buffy. I had decided several days ago to not participate in this petition and left it at that….you have prompted me to make my thoughts public too. For this petition to make it to the president’s desk it will require public support (based on the numbers reported in SLJ librarians alone probably won’t get the job done). Frankly, there is little in the petition language that will resonate with the public. Why would we want to mandate a role for libraries / librarians that is so narrowly defined? I would rather see language that is student centered ensuring that every child has learning experiences composed of elements such as those in the Iowa Core – universal constructs: http://educateiowa.gov/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=2089
    Who can help provide these learning environments? Teacher Librarians are clearly one group of educators who can contribute to this vision.

    It might help us as a profession to look systematically at mandates that have worked well in education and which ones have failed.

  11. I have to reiterate why I signed the petition. All of the points you made are right on the mark, Buffy. I agree with everything you have said. However, I don’t believe we will get to the point of the integrated librarian who is a literacy leader in the building unless we are at the table. This petition will not go anywhere except to raise our profile among the people who are having this discussion at the national level. I don’t believe anyone thinks that mandating a school librarian will necessarily create an information leader.

    But, no matter how much we want to revolutionize the profession there have to be people in it in the first place (which is diminishing day by day) in order to make the revolution happen.

    And just because the petition says 18 books, it doesn’t say they have to be hard-copy books. We have the opportunity to have books in more different formats than ever before and the librarian coordinating the availability of the variety of books (and everything else) will by necessity need to be conversant in multitudinous forms of selection and circulation.

  12. Kudos on an extremely eloquent response. Although I recognize the valid intent of the petition, I also had many issues with the wording and some of the chastising comments being used to persuade (or “guilt”) all librarians to sign it.

  13. This comment was put on CALIBK12, our state listserv:

    “It’s a petition.

    It’s not a proposition on a ballot. You’re not voting.

    It’s not even a bill.

    It’s just a petition. It’s about getting the eye of the president to tell him this should be a priority. We feel strongly enough about school libraries and qualified librarians that we’ve signed this. Now you figure out the details.

    Who cares what the details are? *IF* it even gets past the petition stage, the details will be modified and changed in committee if it even gets as far as a bill.

    Just sign it and get as many people as you can do to the same.

    This is a proactive way to do something besides complain when you’re job is eliminated or downsized and your funding is cut. It’s a positive step towards supporting our profession.

    Do we really want to send the message that less than 10,000 people in the United States care about school librarians? That even the librarians don’t care about their profession?”

    The petition is worth signing–we all know that actual law is a long way off and much lobbying will occur before anything ever even gets close to Congress. So, please, for the sake of those of us who are in states where teacher librarians get almost zero respect, in spite of all the cutting edge things we do, sign.

  14. The school library petition had a word limitation, so encompassing all Teacher Librarians do to promote both digital and print Information Literacy couldn’t be articulated. Your response to publicly trash a sincere effort to bring some much needed attention to the decimation of our country’s school libraries is ignorant.

    How else will Mr. Obama know of California’s travesty of one Teacher Librarian to 5000+ kids, and less than 10 books per child in LAUSD, digital books included? His handlers and corporate “philanthropists” have convinced him that all-digital library kiosks are the way to go nationwide. That scenario puts you out of a job too.

    So, the Unquiet Librarian and some readers won’t push library services for all students, and reasons offered up are specious; a misspelled word, no guarantee of good service with credentialed professionals, or that laws won’t be obeyed anyway. Boo hoo. Lip service is easier to dish up than effort.

    When we discuss school library services we assume that others in our prossions understand we mean books, both digital and print, Web2, Information Literacy training, technology acess and integrating these services with school curriculum that Teacher Librarians offer.

    California is dead last in ALL school library sevices to students and it shows. As California goes, so goes the nation. Enjoy your state mandate while it lasts and don’t snivel when Georgia’s school libraries are on the chopping block because so called reformers and raptor philanthropists have bought waivers to circumvent your laws. Your own comment says its already happening.

    This petition is an attempt to force Mr. Obama to take a closer look at the disastrous consequences RTTT and NCLB policies have rained upon school libraries nationwide, especially in California. Such lack of support from within our profession is unconscionable and short sighted. The forces seeking to corporatize both public and school libraries will win unless librarians of all types stick together.

    And if I mispelled any words, DEAL WITH IT!!!

  15. Shame on you Buffy! I have to agree with Melinda. The spirit of Seanean Shanahan’s petition is meant to simply alert the President about the importance of properly staffed school libraries plain and simple. In addition the intent was to demonstrate solidarity among the ranks. (Hopefully) Granted, the language is a little off. But for a colleague to publicly decry the signing of the petition is unconscionable. If you don’t want to sign it than don’t. And when “they” decide to close your library and lay you off, don’t expect any sympathy from the rest of us here in Los Angeles. Districts throughout the country have no problem cutting essential services to students just so that they can pay for federally mandated testing. The federal and state governments certainly foist many ridiculous and expensive educational mandates on school districts and teachers. It seems rather benign to simply ask them to enforce education code intended to promote a school library that is properly staffed. Frankly, I take offense at all of the insinuations about how lousy and ineffective many library programs are. (Yes I can read through the lines Buffy) Actually you were pretty blunt in your evaluation. The way I see it In all professions there will always be people that go through the motions of performing their duties. (slackers) Should we then use the argument to not mandate doctors in hospitals because many of them are buffoons? No, that would seem absurd. Everyone knows hospitals need to be properly staffed with doctors and nurses and stocked with modern equipment. Similarly, libraries need to be properly staffed and stocked. Recently, FYI Los Angeles Unified has come under fire for not providing “Equal Access to Information” throughout the schools of the district. The Office of Civil Rights is now monitoring the district to make sure it provides basic information access to it’s students. Finally, your vague reference to all of the “studies” about libraries not being valid is ridiculous. Please. Do we even need a study to prove that students that read do better in school. Do you know who Stephen Krashen is??? Apparently you don’t feel that students need to have reading materials provided to them for their own personal use. I could go on and on but I won’t. I am very alarmed that a Teacher Librarian would post such well thought out but ultimately meaningless dribble aimed to intentionally harm the profession.

  16. While the comments posted by Buffy are eloquent, the point of the petition has been missed. Teacher Librarians nationwide need to be recognized as invaluable, integral to student academic success and leaders in information literacy. This is only the start. Please do not wordsmith us all out of an opportunity to get our foot in the door. That’s all the petition is meant to do. Please do not divide us due to missing language or more in-depth or missed philosophies. Thank you.

  17. This is the kind of nitpicking I’ve urged against when requesting people to sign this petition. (That was my quote from the Calibk12 listserve).

    It’s a petition.

    You’re not voting on a proposition on a ballot.

    It’s not even a bill.

    It’s a petition.

    It’s designed to catch the eye of the president and tell him we think school libraries are important enough that every school should have one and every one should have a qualified, certified teacher librarian. Let others work out the details. They will anyway. If it even gets beyond the petition stage it will be modified and changed in committee and then if it even gets out of committee it will change again as it goes through the process of becoming a bill and then a law. All of the details you talk about will have a chance to be presented in the process.

    25,000 signatures and he’ll see it. Fail and he won’t. So because it doesn’t go far enough or it goes too far or it doesn’t fit exactly with what you want or think is needed you’re going to pass? Really? And urge others to do the same? Is your nose still firmly affixed to your face?

    How altruistic and noble of you. I’m sure all of the librarians who will find themselves unemployed when their positions are eliminated will appreciate the purity of your ideals.

    Do we really want to send the message that in the entire United States less than 25,000 people care about school libraries? There are more than 25,000 school librarians in the United States. Isn’t it tragic that even they don’t value themselves and their profession enough to band together to support this petition?

    I’m tired of hearing the whining about downsizing, job elimination and justifying the role of the school librarian in the education process. Time to step up and become proactive instead of reactive. It’s a lot easier to save school libraries before they’re gone than to try to get them back once the deed is done. California public schools are a shining example and bitter reminder of that. Too many have no librarians, more and more no staff at all. You may feel you’re safe in Georgia but in California, where the author of this petition works, we have one librarian for every 5,000 students. Probably every 6,000 once the latest pink slips are counted. Georgia could be California in a few years.

  18. You make excellent points, Buffy, but I agree with the comments that state that this petition is just a starting point for discussion with the law makers, not intended to be a perfect document, and one that those of us in California desperately need. As Marie Slim wrote, we in California are desperate for better support of school libraries for our students. We have no mandatory staffing requirements. Many schools have no libraries at all. Middle schools with credentialed staff are becoming more and more rare; elementary schools with such staff are even rarer. My situation as a solo teacher librarian in a high school with about 24,500 students and no additional staff is very common. We do have many talented people in the school library field here, and, with a lot of support from California School Library Association, we continue to advocate for strong school libraries for our students in any and every way we can. This petition was one of those efforts and one that I urge everyone to support for the good of the cause I know we all support – empowering our students to be critical thinkers, enthusiastic readers, skillful researchers, and ethical users and creators of information. Thanks!

    • I am very fortunate to be a librarian at a private high school that evades state-wide budget restrictions. However, I am currently trying to utilize the advantages afforded to me and my library in the direction of others. I spend my day generating LibGuides, convincing others of Evernote’s value, or researching the benefits of acquiring a federated searching catalog. Meanwhile, I have a dear friend spending her own money to buy every single book for her 5th grade English class. Her school has no library, not even a storage closet with a few shelves. I am in the process of sending her discarded encyclopedias and other reference materials, just so the students in her school can learn what an index, glossary and table of contents are (and how to use them). This to me only reiterates that technological advancements are useless if foundational needs are not met. A school such as that would ONLY benefit from the “18 books per student” minimum requirement (physical or digital). It is important, first and foremost, that the concept of “libraries” is brought to the discussion table. Then, and only then, can we educate others of libraries’ worth.

      I think we all want to move towards the model required for ideal 21st century learning; therefore, let us embrace the “rising tide” notion and move forward as a unit.

  19. Just a quick note on all that you want to include… there is a character limit. The petition, as currently written, only had space for 5 more characters before it was submitted. Sure, I would have LOVED to have added paragraph after paragraph about what we really do and cite evidence all over the place showing what a difference we can make, but I simply could not. It’s a petition, not a bill in Congress. I was just trying to make us visible.

    The petition is about to time out. If you think you can do better, write your own and I’ll sign it. Maybe we can get 25,000 signatures on yours before the 30 days is up. I’ll do anything to get our foot in the door right now.

    When your state has only ONE certificated Teacher Librarian for every 6,000 students, you get desperate.

    And on a side note, the reason for “other similarly qualified credentialed individual” was because there are probably at least a dozen different titles across the nation. California is Teacher Librarian. AASL says School Librarian. Some states use Library Media Specialist or Technician. I just wanted to make sure that the person hired for the school library is “highly qualified” in the sense that they have studied library sciences, as opposed to just being hired off the street with little to no training. Here in CA, we have some amazing paraprofessionals, but instead of having TLs work WITH the Library Aides, they are being placed in libraries to replace the TLs.

    THAT is why I used that phrasing.

  20. I hope some of our colleagues are changing their minds about signing. It just breaks my heart that someone influential like Buffy Hamilton would use her bully pulpit to discourage people from signing the petition. She should walk in the shoes of Los Angeles Unified School District teacher librarians for a while. She should have to take the witness stand in adminstrative law court as we did last spring and be grilled for an hour by hostile lawyers, defending her profession and her practice of it. She should watch libraries formerly staffed by teacher librarians being given to library aides who have never taken a library science course in their lives and do not even possess college degrees. That might change her mind about the need to get this dialogue started at the federal level.

    California passed Model School Library Standards last year, but the reception by school districts has been as the sound of one hand clapping. The standards aren’t mandated and teacher librarians in California are on their way to extinction.

    In my opinion, the inequity of access to libraries has to be solved at the federal level. Fighting for our profession state by state, district by district, even school by school as we do in Los Angeles Unified, has resulted in horrible inequities across the nation. All students have the right to a quality education, and access to appropriate library services is part of a quality education.

  21. For readers who live in “the rest of the United States” (how we in California sometimes refer to it), you may have noticed a somewhat shrill response to Buffy’s blog post from my colleagues in the Golden State.

    You’ve seen some statistics in the responses, but I wanted to provide some more context to help readers make sense of it. I got my data from the National Center for Education Statistics.

    The California student-to-school-librarian ratio, in 2006-07, ranked last in all states and US territories except for the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands, where one sole librarian served 11,695 students.

    The average ratio, nationwide, was 905. Among states, California (5105) was below Utah (1939). If California were to somehow double the number of school librarians, the state would still be last place (2553), below Utah. If California tripled its number of school librarians (1702), it would move ahead of Utah and the District of Columbia (1777). Idaho (1630) would remain unassailed.

    I found it morbidly fascinating to keep increasing the number to see where California would rank. I noticed that Doug Johnson posted a “me too” blog to Buffy’s post. He’s in Minnesota (954). California would have to increase staffing 5.5 times (928) to beat his state’s ratio. To out-rank Buffy’s state of Georgia (719–where apparently they are saddled with a mandate), California would have to hire over 7,600 more teacher librarians. To increase the number ten-fold would not be sufficient to place California at the top of the list. That honor goes to Vermont (370).

    I provided a similar breakdown of these statistics a few years ago to CALIX, a listserv of primarily public librarians in California. I did this because contributors to that forum were pondering why the information literacy caliber of younger patrons was so poor, and fingers were being pointed at school librarians. I work on-call in public libraries, and I can see how they may have concluded this. I had to point out that in most cases it wasn’t a school librarian doing a poor job. It was that no one was doing the job.

    To paraphrase Andy Kaufman, “California school library staffing is so bad, it’s terrible.”

  22. Dear Buffy, I’m sorry but I respectfully disagree with you.

    This petition wasn’t meant to be “a simple fix to the challenges our profession is facing,” rather it was intended to draw attention to the challenges our country’s children are facing.

    President Obama says in his Blueprint for Reform: The Reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act:

    “Every child in America deserves a world-class education.”

    http://www2.ed.gov/policy/elsec/leg/blueprint/blueprint.pdf

    Dr. Krashen asserts, and research shows, that a world-class school library makes a big dent in that world-class education.

    But kids aren’t getting that when world-class school librarians like Miranda Doyle and Marie Slim each teach at 6+ sites.

    You and I are among the very lucky ones, and as such, I think we have an obligation to advocate for those whose libraries have much less.

    Please see my full post on this topic here: http://msannakoval.posterous.com/why-i-signed-the-library-petition

  23. Dissent is rarely offered without challenge. Add to that the loss of job in such tough economic times and well it is challenging to separate the ‘effectiveness’ and even accuracy of the petition with what I imagine must be a felt need by those living with the threat (or reality) of financial loss.

    These are dire times for so many.

    Whereas I agree completely with Buffy’s analysis and her right (an important one at that) to offer her reasoned position –I still will sign the petition and do so without hesitation. The imperfect is closer to the truth than not: I want our President to know that educational excellence can not be had when States and local districts poorly staff and/or eliminate the staff from public school libraries/media centers.

    To deeply experience the pleasure of reading should be a right, not something reserved for those youngsters ‘lucky’ enough to come from means or be situated at schools where dynamic libraries are still privileged.

    We are what we value.

  24. Where is your response to these comments, Buffy? I specifically would like to hear what you have to say to Melinda Buterbaugh.

    • Cathy, I have been out of the town and the country for the last eight days on my first real vacation in years as well as a conference—with very limited web access and my desire to enjoy some personal time for myself which I think I have earned, I wanted to utilize that time investing in myself, my friends, and loved ones; in addition, I wanted to provide a window of time for people to share their opinions whether they agreed, disagreed, or fell somewhere in the middle.

      I honestly am not sure right now there is anything I can say in response to the comments that isn’t already articulated in the original post. I have no problem with differing viewpoints, and I respect the comments that have offered constructive thoughts and dialogue. However, I don’t know if it is really worth my time or energy responding to those who have offered personal attacks and unprofessional remarks that are also full of an awful lot of assumptions–it’s hard to have a conversation with people think that is how you engage with others in what should be a civil discourse.

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  26. Someone should send President Obama a link to this discussion. If he had time to read it, he would learn more about the situation in California and nationwide than he would from the original petition. He’s got a lot on his plate. Sounds to me like this petition should have been made at the state level in California to have any effect.

  27. Our issues are similar in Canada, although our funding is provincial, not federal. But tone and content of this conversation is very familiar. I would like to point out that while “we” (the enlightened, progressive side) are beating ourselves up over nuance and details and logical arguments – the other side ( the for profit, anti-intellectual, side) has NO PROBLEM sending out black-and-white, simplified messages. And they work – just look at negative advertising in politics. Before these open access internet blog conversations, these essential dirty linen conversations would have taken place behind closed doors. And an intelligent, perfectly-worded message would have been delivered. I like the black-and-white message of the petition – Every child needs a school librarian and good library resources. take care, Judith Comfort in Vancouver, Canada

  28. I care very much about the funding of libraries, and I like the idea of a petition. But I felt that if even I was put off by the statement that all federal monies be immediately withdrawn from schools if the demand is not met, I could only imagine the effect it would have on others outside the profession.

    This seems extreme, and if implemented would ultimately hurt those we intend to champion — our patrons. On the other hand, I would readily sign a petition that included supporting statistics and did not begin with such a drastic demand.

  29. Pingback: on libraries and newspapers and life boats … « Big Building, Lots of Books

  30. Dear Buffy,
    You are a deep thinker and an excellent representative of the value of school teacher librarians. This is a complex issue because of the extreme variety in how our media centers are being staffed across the country. I support the sentiment of the petition, but agree that the implicit standard is inadequate.

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