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L.A. Public School Librarians Subjected to Basement Interrogations as Administrators Target Their Jobs

 
 
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Last night, the Canadian radio broadcast, "As It Happens," featured a remarkable story about what's going on in Los Angeles public schools, as officials grapple with a budget crisis. Librarians -- more specifically, teacher-librarians, are being escorted to the basement of an administration building, where they are made to sit on lawn chairs while being interrogated by school district lawyers who are seeking to prove that the librarians don't actually qualify as teachers. From the "As It Happens" Web site:

Teacher-Librarians in Los Angeles are under threat.

The Los Angeles Unified School District wants to lay off eighty-five middle- and high-school teacher librarians to reduce costs. As a result, school librarians across L.A. are being interrogated by lawyers working for the School District to see if their qualifications are up to scratch.

Laura Graff, a teacher librarian at LA's Sun Valley High School, has been on the receiving end of one of these questionings. We reached her in Los Angeles, California.

That description hardly does justice to the process that Graff recounts, which she characterized as very adversarial. Graff said that her job requires both a teaching certificate and a library science degree, and suggested that administrators themselves have their eyes on the teacher-librarian jobs, saying they want to replace libraries with some sort of high-tech schemes.

Hmmm...The librarians in the public school systems that nurtured me taught me pretty much how to do the job I do now. They taught me how to research, how to cross-reference sources, and guided me to books that encouraged me to dream. We really wouldn't want that for the children of L.A., now, would we?

Well worth a listen; archived on the show's Web site in Part 2 of the program.

AlterNet / By Adele M. Stan

Posted at May 26, 2011, 1:15pm

 
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