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image from Houghton-Mifflin

Luckily, I didn’t need to go back to school to become the “library lady” at CWBS,  and, if next year’s students think I’m the “librarian”, it will be because, for better or worse, I’ll be the only face up there, among the stacks.

Just this week, I received an underwhelming “letter of reasonable assurance” from the school district — indicating that there is a better than 50% chance that they will have a job for me next year. Don’t pull out the party hats and horns, yet. Apparently, all of the district’s hourly support staff employees receive one of these relatively meaningless form letters every June. Final word won’t come down until mid-August, most likely.

Back in May, the anticipated faculty shake-up did occur in our district — via hand-delivered envelopes one Friday afternoon. A reorginization that claimed to have “building stronger teaching teams” as its goal seemed, in reality, designed to break the morale of teachers at each and every school in the district.

Faculty switched rooms, schools, and grades. By the following Monday, a poster board attempting to make sense of who was coming and who was going was hung in the faculty lunchroom, filled in by word of mouth. After the dust had settled, the faculty at CWBS quickly came to terms with the cards they’d been dealt and went on to give the students a terrific last two weeks of school.

The biggest change (and the reason I’m fairly confident that I’ll be working next year), was the total elimination of library instruction by librarians. The librarians who were made half-time last year (necessitating my job) were made whole again….and placed in the classroom, to replace retiring faculty. As a parent in the district, I do think that it will be a loss for the students, but I am also fully aware that the money simply isn’t there, and we are certainly not the first school district to lose our librarians.

In the absence of librarians, I’m not certified to pick up any actual instruction, but I’ve already brainstormed with our principal to come up with new ways to market the library as a resource for faculty and students. I would continue to be responsible for the administrative end of the library and for book exchanges, but I hope to also introduce some book clubs for students and invite teachers to use the library as a space for story time, discussion groups, and, of course, research.

Other major cuts including the halving of elementary music and art instruction — with the “extra” faculty in those disciplines also being moved back into classroom instruction.

Only time will tell what impact these cuts will have on our students. I only know that times are tough all over, and our faculty will continue to deliver the kind of educational excellence that our district is known for.

Read a book. Hug a librarian (….or library lady)!