Thursday, October 21, 2010

Short-sighted cut

You've heard me complain that the board needs to prioritize the library in Bridgewater schools. Now I'm upset that parents are petitioning the Superintendent to close the libarary* at the high school!

REALLY?! Are parents that short sighted?

Bridgewater-Raritan high school only has one librarian for its approximately 3,000 students. I haven't spent much time in the Library and know literally nothing about how it operates or what it offers, but someone knowledgeable explained that the library is closed during lunch because kids were playing video games on the computers instead of doing legitimate work, and the librarian doesn't have the capacity to police this. As often happens a few bad apples ruin it for the high school basket. Students can still visit and utilize the library as needed during either an appropriate class or a study hall - they need a pass - and it is open for an hour after school.

So here, while you might find me stating the obvious:

EVERY SCHOOL ON THE PLANET DESERVES A LIBRARY. I expect every school in Bridgewater to have an excellent library, with a plethora of resources at our kids' (and teachers') disposal. I expect the library to have a knowledgeable and helpful librarian. And while they are a dying breed, I also expect the librarian to have an assistant to help with the hundreds of administrative tasks that need to get done so that librarian can concentrate on meeting your child's academic needs.

I can't believe I am blogging about this. It seems like such a given that I shouldn't have to waste time on it. But apparently, it is necessary for me to speak up to remind people that libraries and schools belong together. Studying is not an extra-curricular activity and a school's library is a right, not a privilege.  

Update: A reader brought it to my attention that students can only go to the library with a pass indicating that they need to use it for a specific purpose - i.e. research. They cannot go there "just to read the paper" or "study" in general. This seems like it is a very narrow - too narrow - definition of the library's use and should be revisited as soon as possible. She suggested that concerned parents should attend the next BOE meeting and voice their opinions.


* NB - I put the link to the high school library, but it hasn't been updated since May and still shows it fully staffed. I don't know who is there today.

1 comment:

Renee L. Berry said...

Just when you think you've heard it all, someone lowers the stupid bar again. Close the high school library? You gotta be kidding me. Of course, these parents probably think all they need is the local mega-chain bookstore and the internet and voila-poof, their child can do all the research he or she needs (or at least download a paper or read the sparknotes). Gaaa. And I also agree that such a narrow permitted usage of the library is also in need of change. (although if they're lacking staff, I can kinda, sorta see it). Please go to the meeting and make a stink! The ALA has great resources to fight such stupidity, and they'd be happy to advocate with you and alert other people. Rock on Poppet. You tell 'em.