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Check Out Funding for School Libraries

July 09, 2002

Re "School Libraries Poorly Managed, Report Finds," July 3: This should come as no great surprise in the Los Angeles Unified School District, which has not adequately supported its school libraries for almost 40 years. A school library is a well-organized, well-stocked center of learning where up-to-date materials are easily accessible to students and teachers. It takes a lot of work to keep a school library functional. Elementary school libraries in the LAUSD do not have credentialed librarians. Middle and high school libraries do have credentialed librarians but no adequate clerical assistance to do the kinds of tasks that are necessary to keep the library working properly.

Ordering, processing and shelving books takes specific knowledge and a lot of time. Elementary library aides who work three to six hours a day cannot be expected to do all of this plus aid classes every hour. And secondary librarians also cannot fulfill the jobs of information literacy teacher, resource consultant and library manager without having full-time clerical help.

If the LAUSD had specific standards for school libraries, then the funding for adequate staffing both in school libraries themselves and at the district level would be the logical next step.

Sandy Schuckett

V.P., Legislation

California School Library Assn.

Los Angeles

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