Joy Resmovits at HuffPo reports, “Librarian Positions Cut In Schools Across The Country” [emphasis added]:
Weiss Suits’ story is just one of many. As school districts work to accommodate budget shortfalls, teachers aren’t the only education professionals to be let go or reshuffled. Librarians, said Nancy Everhart, president of the American Association of School Librarians, along with arts teachers and music program directors, are more vulnerable.
“Anything that is not a classroom where you have 30 kids in front of you for six, seven hours a day is probably a soft target in today’s economic times,” she told HuffPost.
And as advances in technology and the wealth of information available online can appear to make rooms filled with books obsolete, librarians find themselves on the chopping block more and more often.
I suppose the word “appear” makes this passage sting slightly less, but I would have liked more on the usefulness of media specialists and how they are vital to the mission of schools.
Charles Simic pens a thoughtful essay on the decline of public libraries in The New York Review of Books. It’s thoughtful and sad.
When you count the families all over this country who don’t have computers or can’t afford Internet connections and rely on the ones in libraries to look for jobs, the consequences will be even more dire. People everywhere are unhappy about these closings, and so are mayors making the hard decisions. But with roads and streets left in disrepair, teachers, policemen and firemen being laid off, and politicians in both parties pledging never to raise taxes, no matter what happens to our quality of life, the outlook is bleak. “The greatest nation on earth,” as we still call ourselves, no longer has the political will to arrest its visible and precipitous decline and save the institutions on which the workings of our democracy depend.
According to entrepreneur/motivational speaker Seth Godin, librarians of the future will “take the world of data, combine it with the people in this community and create value”:
We need librarians more than we ever did. What we don’t need are mere clerks who guard dead paper. Librarians are too important to be a dwindling voice in our culture. For the right librarian, this is the chance of a lifetime.”
Hardly Vannevar Bush country, but still interesting as a challenge. I’ve been doing a lot of work with data and data curation lately, but I’m not sure that the future library will head down the Wisdom-Knowledge-Information-Data food chain. I heard a great presentation from a computer scientist yesterday about knowledge management and trust: I imagine that will be as much a part of the future library as atomized data that can be recombined into new facts or interpretations.