Last week, Dr. Marc Bernstein, Superintendent for the Valley Stream Central High School District (NY), suggested Steps to Take Now for our Schools; What Cuomo Can Do to make NYS Education More Efficient and Effective. Among these, Dr. Bernstein suggested that all high school libraries keep only a minimum number of books and eliminate the “antiquated” requirement have at least one full-time librarian.
To my knowledge, Dr. Bernstein has written at least two other anti-library (dare I suggest anti-intellectual) pieces questioning the relevance of school libraries including School Libraries: An Anachronism? (Education Week, March 2010) and Is the School Library a Sacred Cow? (American School Board Journal, April 2010).
Inspired by Taylor Mali and his poem “What Teachers Make” (and no doubt enraged by Dr. Bernstein’s short-sightedness) Joyce Valenza reads “What Librarians Make Or Why Should I be More than a Librarian?” From the piece:
Our library is not a sacred cow. It is a growing, vibrant, central element of my school’s learning culture.
If you want evidence, come for a visit. Ask my kids. Ask our graduates. I can share the research if you like. Check out the Impact Studies collected at the Library Research Service site or scan the collected body of literature in Scholastic’s document School Libraries Work .
I make a goddamn difference!
I am not an anachronism.
And there is no need for me to be more than a librarian. Being a librarian is more than enough.