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Report: Half of LAUSD's Middle and Elementary Libraries Without Librarians

Without proper staffing, a $100 million collection is at risk, union reps say.

Books have gone missing from LAUSD libraries that are not staffed with professional librarians, a union rep says.
Books have gone missing from LAUSD libraries that are not staffed with professional librarians, a union rep says.

About half of the 600 elementary and middle school libraries in the Los Angeles Unified School District are without librarians or aides, denying tens of thousands of students regular access to nearly $100 million worth of books, it was reported today.

The crisis has exacerbated educational inequalities across the nation's second-largest system as some campuses receive extra money for library staff and others don't, the Los Angeles Times reported. It has also sparked a prolonged labor conflict with the California School Employees Association, which represents library aides.

Since 2011, the union has alleged that L.A. Unified laid off their members, then illegally allowed parent volunteers, instructional aides and others to do their work at nearly four dozen campuses. The district issued a bulletin last year clarifying that library work can be performed only by those with proper credentials, but the union asserts that violations are still occurring. The issue is set for a hearing by the state Public Employment Relations Board in May.

Franny Parrish, a library aide involved in the union's unfair practice charge, told The Times that the issue is not only jobs, but the security of L.A. Unified's $205 million library book collection. Without trained staff to make sure books are properly checked out, returned and refiled, she said, thousands have gone missing.

Aiming to stem the problems, the Los Angeles Board of Education recently agreed to form a districtwide task force to seek ways to improve access to school libraries with more dollars, alternative arrangements and collaboration with other public libraries and charitable organizations, The Times reported.

--City News Service

Jock February 24, 2014 at 02:17 PM
When I read this (and a whole lot more corroborating "Anecdotal" evidence I am reminded of a few lines from a book written quite a while ago about a then future time which from this point of view is 30 years ago. Maybe a little ahead of it's time (for some reason most Sci Fi writers set scenarios in futures too close in time to their own)-------“It's a beautiful thing, the destruction of words.”― George Orwell, 1984 -----“He who controls the past controls the future. He who controls the present controls the past.” ― George Orwell, 1984 ------War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength.” ― George Orwell, 1984 . These "Orwellian" concepts become easy to reinforce with out libraries. The internet can change and opinions can be sqawcked as loud as fact and facts become opinion.
Nicole Williams February 24, 2014 at 07:34 PM
They're too busy buying iPads at RETAIL prices!!!!When there's a sub, they automatically watch a dvd! My kid could learn MORE at home watching TV than at an LAUSD school. It's so frustrating!!!!!You can't even log onto the Net on a desktop at schools-it's RIDICULOUS!!
Librarygal February 25, 2014 at 09:35 AM
As an LAUSD Library Aide since 2000 I have seen a lot of changes. Most of us have been reduced to 3 hours a day. A typical day can be up to 6 classes scheduled, primary grades get story time, students come in at the same time to exchange books so they can keep up with the required reading program Accelerated Reader, teachers need guidance to find books which supplement the curriculum, not to mention shelving, putting up monthly displays, etc. We are constantly looking for funding to purchase new books & fun ways to promote the library. It's sad to think about school libraries that have to be closed because there is no Library Aide or Teacher Librarian. I promote the public library daily, but most students do not have the opportunity to go because their parents don't have time to take them. Hopefully things will change so all students may have equal access to the school libraries.
JMarsh February 25, 2014 at 10:14 AM
The first elementary school I taught at years ago had a full-time credentialed librarian. She was wonderful. The library was always in order and open. We had a weekly library visit with our class. If you were studying a topic you could let her know and she would pull a number of grade level books on the subject. She always had featured books on display in the library. They were about holidays, etc. She really made a difference! None of the other schools I taught at had a librarian.

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