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In the News…or What Library Funding and Scarlett O’Hara Have in Common


This week, the debate continues on library funding, and this time, the focus is on school librarians. The New York Times opened up its “Room for Debate” on June 27th with the question “Are school librarians expendable?” Librarians, policy makers, and authors offered a range of responses.

School librarian Jessamyn West expressed concern that taking away school librarians would hurt the neediest students. She wrote: “My concern, as someone who works with people who lack technological access and education, is that removing school librarians and media specialists from the educational environment will have the largest effect on those whose information access is already hampered by the same pressures that are affecting our schools.”

Ze’ev Wurman, former adviser to the US Department of Education, countered that schools need to focus on improving the quality of teaching before improving the quality of the library. He wrote: “Our problem is not saving through cutting librarians. Our problem is the widely used ideological and inefficient teaching methods, and the large number of remedial classes that don’t remediate. No number of books or librarians will instill literacy in high school children who can’t read.”

What do you think? Are school libraries nice but not necessary?

Click HERE to read the entire debate.

Next in the news, Gone with the Wind, the American classic that sold 1 million copies in its first 6 months, turns 75 this week. I have never read the book, but maybe this summer is the perfect time to get started.

Listen to the full story “Margaret Mitchell’s ‘Gone with the Wind turns 75” at npr.org.

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