As miners are alerted to dangers from noxious gases when a canary dies in the mine, community members should immediately wake up and take notice when budgets propose cutting school librarians. This is an early sign that the school culture is endangered, that access to information is at risk, and that student-centered learning may well be compromised.
School librarians are getting quite a bit of amount of attention lately. Education blogger Anthony Cody has written about scams rife in the corporate reform movement, citing librarians as an antidote to destructive policies. Education Activist Peggy Robertson addressed the critical importance of school librarians recently in her blog, Peg with Pen. In July Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis shared a post on Facebook about the bleeding loss of school librarians in Chicago. Under that post, I linked a comment to the Chicago Lab School where one can clearly note the rich school library programs present in schools of the, well, rich. Stories, literature, information literacy – all this matters to families of Lab students as “skills and dispositions learned through library use allow students to explore the wide range of human experience through a variety of media.” Shouldn’t this exploration of what it means to be human be available to public school students?