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SKJ4ALA

I am running for American Library Association President and would welcome your ideas, suggestions and concerns.

To contact me off-blog, feel free to e-mail me at  either my personal e-mail <skjohns@gmail.com> or my campaign e-mail <skj4ala@gmail.com> 

I'd love to hear from you--Sara

 

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Monday
Feb062006

Unpopular job?!?

Marie Barron, a NYS librarian from near Rochester, posted this on our state affiliate listserv:

<http://channels.netscape.com/careers/package.jsp?name=careers/
pm/unpopularjobs> [NOTE: might take pasting this in with a 
couple of segments to read it]

According to this article, we have job security cause nobody
wants to be a librarian...

I do!!! And I know there's more people like me out
there!  Marie

From the Bureau of Labor Statistics, this article puts librarian as the third of five unpopular jobs:

3.  Librarian
Studies have shown that librarians are expected to exit 
the profession en masse in coming years. The American Library 
Association Web site quotes statistics from the U.S.Census 
Bureau indicating that more than one-quarter of all librarians 
will reach the age of 65 by 2009. A study published in the 
Library Journalfound that 40 percent of library directors 
would retire by that same year.
In addition to the librarians expected to retire within the 
next decade, interest in the profession is waning among younger 
workers, according to the BLS. The situation is particularly dire 
for colleges and universities, which report the greatest 
difficulty in hiring librarians due to lower pay.

There are a few points for debate here (would/could retire), but this story seems to be diametrically opposed to what I have been reading on blogs recently--that there are no library jobs for a plethora of librarians wanting to enter the field. Which is it?

 This article cites the very ALA research that young librarians are calling bogus. I think the differences of opinion have more to do with the several TV news show segments and magazine articles that I read/heard over the weekend about the first of the baby boomers turning 60. (I did like the statement that you are not a baby boomer if you can't remember where you were when you heard about JFK's assassination--I was cutting study hall with 2 friends). I have a way to go until I hit that milestone but...I am a typical boomer in that I am not going to leave my job just because I am old enough to retire. Many boomers intend to work well into retirement age (some at another job) and thus are not abdicating their postions to be filled by the young 'uns. 

I'm all for better pay for public and academic librarians: ALA has established the APA to work on that. But...unpopular? My job?  It's too crucial, too fulfilling to be unpopular! I love it and am not leaving it very soon. I like Marie's attitude--it's a job with job security...my concern in school libraries is  that there are not enough GOOD jobs with enlightened, supportive administrators and we need to work on that--very  hard.

Below are two groups of students completing their Amazing Race task for our Winter Carnival last Friday. How much more fun can it get?

Seniors--Amazing Race LMC.jpg
 


                                                          

 Juniors Amazing Race LMC.jpg

 

    

                                           
 

Thursday
Feb022006

Does Reading Count? Geogia and the 65% Solution

Just as AASL announced the creation of a special task force to combat the quickly-growing 65% Solution and its exclusion of school libraries from the instructional category, yesterday's ASCD brief included an Atlanta Journal and Constitution article about the march of the 65% Solution through Georgia:

65% bill advances in Georgia legislature
A Georgia measure mandating that at least 65% of school budgets be spent in the classroom passed the state Senate 32-18 on Tuesday. Democrats and some educators object to the bill's classifying field trips and athletics as classroom expenditures, but not the salaries of librarians and other support personnel
.

The article is at:

<http://www.ajc.com/wednesday/content/epaper/editions/wednesday/metro_340ec472b11fd1b000b5.html> and requires free registration (I have so many of those out there to read one article!).

The Georgia library advocates were able to convince enough legislators that school libraries are crucial that an amendment was proposed to include school libraries as instructional, but it failed to pass. This shows the need for AASL's Taskforce to work quickly and powerfully for all the rest of the affiliates who are next in line--and we know there will be more. Ann Dutton Ewbank will chair the taskforce and it will have a lot of support from AASL staff and the AASL Board.

But, my question is whether any of the actions described in the recently-passed Council resolution can make an immediate difference for Georgia's advocacy in the House? How quickly can those letters from Keith Fiels on ALA's behalf get to the Georgia governor and Georgia legislators? In other words, are there AASL and ALA actions that can help right now with the House?  Perhaps a national focus on Georgia's debate might help swing enough votes to add library programs to the instuctional "side" in the House. After a meeting of state library officers at Midwinter, Colorado's Gene Hainer noted that individual states have that option (they don't HAVE to follow the NCES definitions word-for-word but can use them as "guidelines') and this is obviously one of those "opportunities" to do so.

One more tool for the taskforce and all of us who advocate for strong libraries was recently released. On the Public Education Network web site <http://www.publiceducation.org/highschools.asp>, you can download a copy of the recently released "Adolescents Read" study. It's anecdotal but maybe it will help a legislator somewhere make the connection between equal access to strong school libraries with well-chosen resources and students' love of reading. Teaching students to love reading is one of those "instructional" pieces of our job! Reading DOES count!

 Ann Dutton Ewbanks is smart, savvy and has lots of energy. She and her taskforce will work as fast as they can to give other states the tools to fight this movement's devastation of school libraries and library positions. You go girl! Here's a picture of Ann at work in Affiliate Assembly (thanks to Diane Chen):

Ann Ewbanks.jpg
 

 

Tuesday
Jan312006

Chris Crutcher visted my students last Friday!

Don't get me wrong. I love connecting students with the right resources and teaching them survival skills for information use, but the BEST part of my job is still reading guidance. My school is rather isolated in the Adirondack Mountains, but every once in a while I get to treat the students to an experience that will encourage their love of reading.

 Last Friday, the 27th, Chris Crutcher spent the whole day with my students (who are in grades 6-12) and faculty. He was so accommodating, so flexible, so caring about the kids. He got here for a second period presentation, had third off and that was the last free time till the day was over at the end of 10th period. He's obviously one of those people who thrives on other people, especially kids. He talked to them about the hard parts of life by using appropriate stories for their ages--both humorous and poignant stories.

There were a couple of notable moments that stand out in my mind. One was him visiting a student who was in In-school Supsension due to anger issues (one of Chris' problems) and wasn't able to attend the assembly with his class. Chris went to visit him, appreciated the questions Jason had for him (they were good ones) and then promised to send him a book if Jason e-mailed him.

Also, when Chris told the story from his autobiography of the young father who shook his baby and then ended up in therapy with Chris, our senior students gasped. By senior year, they have all gone through a parenting class and have taken computerized babies home for a weekend. They are very aware of the shaken baby syndrome effect on a baby's brain and,with one in the local news right now, it was very real to them.

Can you tell that we had a great visit with him? Our students don't often get the chance to connect an author's telling stories with writing and it was a terrific opportunity for that to happen. There are several pictures of his visit on his website; if you click on the North Country School page, you'll see them : <http://www.chriscruthcher.com> Below is one of me introducing him to the 6th grade:

ChrisSara.jpg