School Libraries

"Huge Discussion" Triage

Through my Google Reader, there is a “huge discussion” among school librarians that has been brought to my attention. (Starts here, goes here and here, and onwards to here, and a nice summary of it all here). In talking with Buffy (The Unquiet Librarian) about it, I am now going to probably stick my nose into a debate I probably shouldn't get involved in. However, I hope this offers the participants an objective third party assessment of the discussion.

I think the one thing that both sides of the argument should do is concede to two specific certain points. -- Read More

Baltimore Area Children's Librarian, Robert Hallett, Will Be Missed

Robert Hallett, a longtime Baltimore County school librarian who invented a spandex-clad superhero named Red Reader to motivate children to read, died Monday of a rare form of leukemia. The Reisterstown resident was 60.

Mr. Hallett, who was called Bob when not assuming one of his alter egos, spent much of his more than 30-year career as a library-media specialist at Riderwood Elementary in Towson, where staff, parents and students described him as central to the school's spirit and culture.
Baltimore Sun reports.

Buffett helps school dedicate new library

NEWTOWN, Pa. — George School alumna Barbara Dodd Anderson credits her close family friend, billionaire investor Warren Buffett, as the inspiration for her charitable giving, including the $5 million lead donation that helped build the school’s new library, which officially opened with a dedication ceremony yesterday.

Full story

Explicit 'Banned Book' Infuriates Virginia Father, Leads to School Review

Fox News: [John Davis] says he became "infuriated" when he discovered that his 16-year-old son brought home a book he'd been given in school that contained references to homosexuality, drug use and explicit sexual behavior.

The father's complaint has led to a school review of the novel, "Perks of Being a Wallflower" by Stephen Chbosky, which has been a source of controversy in other schools across the country.

[...]

"I don't think it's age-appropriate for anyone," [Davis] said. "I don't think adults should be reading that junk. It's pornography. They're corrupting his mind with this garbage."

Full story

(Right on the heels of Banned Book Week, no less. AW)

Brooklyn middle school students squeezed out library

Students and parents at a Brooklyn middle school are fuming after they were pushed out of their newly spruced-up library by an expanding charter school.

Junior High School 126 kids have severely limited access to the cozy, mural-painted reading spot this year so the three charters sharing the Greenpoint building can use the space for planning, meetings and small classes.
Read more.

One Million New Books In Ontario School Libraries

Elementary students started the school year with more than one million new books in school libraries, and there are more on the way.
Last January, the government selected 72 Ontario-based vendors, and negotiated discounts up to 50 per cent for school boards. To date, this has saved boards about $3 million and allowed them to purchase 175,000 more books. More savings and additional books are expected during the school year.

Volunteers Can't Replace School Librarians

Referring to a previous article in the Daily News Tribune, Mary Ellen McKenna, herself a parent volunteer, salutes parents who volunteered to man the school library in Ashland Massachusetts when the librarian position was eliminated. But she adds:

"The article sited budget cuts and the inability to hire professional librarians. The parents in town did not want their children spending another academic year with [sic] library services. They formed a unique volunteer team to support the lending of library resources to the children. While I am very impressed with the commitment of the volunteers, I am concerned the article serves to perpetuate the lack of appreciation for our professional school librarians.

As a volunteer library parent, I routinely check out books for the children. However, the librarian's job goes much beyond checking out books. Who will teach these children the origins and ways of the Dewey decimal system? Who will teach them a true appreciation for the various genres of writing? who will teach them the research skills that become lifelong tools? Our school librarian is constantly thinking outside the box to meet the needs of the children."

Oklahoma Parent’s Questions Stop Author's Visit to School

A visit by a best-selling author to a Norman OK middle school was canceled after a parent questioned the content of one of the author’s books.

Author Ellen Hopkins was scheduled to speak to eighth-graders at Whittier Middle School today about her career, writing process and books.

Hopkins is the author of several New York Times best-selling books for young adults. She was notified Thursday her visit was canceled because a parent at the school requested a review of her book "Glass”.

Twilight Banned At Australian School- Deemed Too Racy

Twilight, though an international bestseller, isn't faring so well in Strathfield, NSW. School administrators and librarians at the Santa Sabina College say the book is too racy for school children to read and have even gone so far to hold seminars on paranormal romance. Librarians have removed the book from the shelves of the school library.

The head librarian, Helen Schutz, says "We wanted to make sure they realise it's fictitious and ensure they don't have a wrong grasp on reality."

More from The Daily Telegraph.

Private school library gets rid of all books

The Boston Globe today reports on the Cushing Academy in Ashburnham, MA that has decided to take all the latest trends in libraries to their absurd extreme: A library without the books. "Where the reference desk was, they are building a $50,000 coffee shop that will include a $12,000 cappuccino machine."

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