Persecution of Teacher-Librarians

There have been many groups persecuted throughout history: Galileo, religious groups, ethnic groups, various individuals … and now, today in California, the newest persecuted group is California Teacher-Librarians (also known as School Librarians, Library Media Teachers and Library Media Specialists).

Someone somewhere decided that eliminating school librarians in schools in California would help to reduce the operating costs in schools.  However, schools that eliminate teacher-librarians will soon find that their decision is short sighted and that further information and knowledge deficits will occur in the students we all work together to educate in California.

Hector Tobar of the LA Times eloquently chronicled the treatment of Teacher-Librarians in the Los Angeles Unified School District.  I am not sure why or how a “court” or “inquisition” system was developed in LAUSD but why does any group of educators have to justify their existence like this?  Regardless of the dire economic conditions that exist in California and in public schools, no group of people in any profession should be treated this way.

Listed below are words from those who were there.

Blog posts from “The Library is Not a Fruit”, from Abigail Librarian who live in California and other library bloggers, Cathy Jo Nelson and Joyce Valenza.

The following are posts from CALIB K-12, the teacher-librarian listserv in California (here are the specific posts from below):

1. “I went through my LAUSD interrogation on Wednesday, May 11th.  I am a relatively frequent reader of this listserv and as far as I know LAUSD is the only district in CA to layoff TLs without offering them a position in their primary credential area.  Am I correct about this?  Does anyone know of any other districts who have done this?”

2. “Thank you for writing the timely article about the disgraceful treatment of LAUSD Teacher Librarians. Please be aware that we chose our professions not to get out of the hurly-burly activity of the classroom, but to move into the hurly-burly activity that is in today’s modern school libraries. Here in Bakersfield, within the 18 high school libraries, as well as all over school libraries in California, you will find thousands of classes taking place in the libraries for research projects, checking out library books for Silent Sustained Reading, and students selecting books to read for pleasure and for class assignments. Trust me – if you want a quiet place, most probably you won’t find it in a school library. Also, all of the teacher librarians have broad expertise in teaching information literacy to students. In other words, we teach today’s students how to locate, evaluate and use information ethically, both print and online, for research and other class assignments. Helping students learn how to navigate safely online through the billions of articles on the Internet in order to find trustworthy information is essential to living successfully in the 21st century.“

3. “I think I’ll include articles about LAUSD’s witch hunt the next time I
TEACH the Red Scare and the Salem Witchcraft Trials.”

4. “Ray Bradbury missed the mark in Fahrenheit 451, in which firefighters in
a dystopian future burn books.  As it turns out, it’s not books but
librarians getting burned, and it’s not firefighters but the school
district doing the burning.  One librarian at a time, their careers are
demeaned, their livelihoods shattered, in legal proceedings meant to
show that libraries are not “classes”, and librarians are not
“teachers”, and are therefore expendable.  All to save our dystopian
school district a few bucks, while it squanders millions on new schools
(with new, soon to be empty libraries), grotesquely overpaid
administrators who spent us into this mess in the first place, and
billable hours for the lawyers conducting this sordid little


3 Responses to “Persecution of Teacher-Librarians”

  1. 1 sraslim May 16, 2011 at 8:24 am

    As you know, Rob, Teacher Librarians are TEACHERS. According to California Education Code: 44869. Any library media teacher when employed full time as a library media teacher or serving full time, partly as a library media teacher and partly as a teacher, shall rank as a teacher. If I am released from my Teacher-Librarian duty in my district I will be returned to the Spanish classroom with 13 years seniority. Too bad LAUSD is not showing the same professional courtesy as my So Cal district.

  2. 2 ascherr May 18, 2011 at 2:32 pm

    LAUSD is the new land of the power hungry leaders aka reformists. Mayor Villaraigosa, Board President Monica Garcia and Supt John Deasy are united in wanting to turn public education into corporate education under the guise of reform. They want to hire Teach for America students on the cheap and do away with seniority. Of course, all the “frills” such as arts, music and libraries got to go because of cost. They can easily sell this by appealing to all those citizens who want low taxes. Those of us that are fighting to save public education are the enemy and are categorized as “the status quo”. They are dismantling the entire school district. Teacher Librarians have got to go because #1) we cost too much and #2) we know too much.

  1. 1 Persecution of Teacher-Librarians (guest post by Rob Darrow) « NeverEndingSearch Trackback on May 16, 2011 at 7:23 am

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