February 20, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Now Hiring: Recent Wins on School Library Positions Spark Optimism | Editorial

In case you missed the news: 15 new school library positions have been created in St. Paul, MN. In Bellevue, WA, two similar positions have been restored, and it is possible that number will rise to 11 for the 2015–16 school year. In Hadley, MA, certified librarians have been budgeted for next year after being cut this year. In Washington, DC, the public school system posted a call for library media specialists and, if the budget is approved, aims to hire up to 30 for the 2014–15 school year. These stories make me feel optimistic about the future of school librarians.

Not only are jobs opening up, the positioning of these roles is strategically powerful. There’s an emphasis on curricular support in light of standards, technology instruction, and, of course, information literacy—all connected to building or district leadership. They are complex, demanding jobs, which put librarians (although their title might be “research technology specialist” or “media specialist”) right where they belong, at the center of learning.

Of course, the jobs didn’t just appear from nowhere. The backstories are unique, but they involve advocacy from engaged parents who get what librarians do. In Hadley, savvy use of critical information debunked a prevailing myth. Doubting that “everyone was getting rid of their librarians,” parent Melissa DeFilippi called the superintendents of all the 65 school systems that Boston Magazine had said outranked hers. She learned that her district alone had no high school librarian and it was one of only two without librarians at the middle and elementary levels. Debunked is right.

Another common element: superintendents who are willing to consider the library and who staffs it afresh, related to student needs. For one, DeFilippi’s advocacy dovetailed with the arrival of Pamela Angelakis, the new district superintendent. Their goals seem to have gelled—and a new elementary school is in the works, featuring what Angelakis calls “a beautiful media center.”

The general outlook has been bleak, but I can’t help seeing the good news here. Learn from these examples of roles redefined and positions won, and tell us if you are seeing similar wins, large or small, in your districts.

AverageBookPrice-totalsonly2014GET YOUR AVERAGE BOOK PRICES HERE

SLJ’s average book prices for 2013 and 2014 to date have arrived. Based on figures supplied by Baker & Taylor, the table shows average list prices for books sold during the time frames listed. See the full version for separate calculations for the school market and the public library market. We hope you find this information useful as you plan.


Rebecca T. Miller

This article was published in School Library Journal's April 2014 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

Rebecca T. Miller About Rebecca T. Miller

Rebecca T. Miller (rmiller@mediasourceinc.com) is Editorial Director, Library Journal and School Library Journal.