Annoyed Librarian
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Inside Annoyed Librarian

Protests for the Librarians

On an unrelated note, here’s a funny piece about how the Author’s Guild made multiple photocopies of someone’s book and distributed them during the trial where they claimed copying works should be illegal. Crazy stuff.

Okay, now for the topic of the day.

School librarians just can’t catch a break. Supposedly, Oregon’s 1,250 schools have 144 librarians, which seemed excessive until I realized that wasn’t 144 librarians per school.

Often the only protest is found in news articles about how few librarians there are per school in Oregon, or California, or any of the other places school librarians are being dropped like hot cakes, if dropping hot cakes is a thing.

In Holyoke, MA, they get serious about their protests, though. According to the article, “dozens of people” came to a meeting about school budget cuts. Wikipedia claims Holyoke has about 40,000 residents, so dozens seems pretty good.

To put that in some perspective, let’s say three dozen showed up. If the same percentage of New Yorkers had shown up to Occupy Wall Street, that would have been about 7500 people. That’s not too shabby.

And it does seem like the budget cutters are trying to have their cake and eat it, too. As one teacher complains,

By replacing qualified librarians and reading interventionists with part time tutors, even if they are former librarians and reading interventionists, we are selling our students short and further damaging with union, who has negotiated so hard for better condition.

Let’s take that first part first. They want to cut librarians, but then bring librarians back in as part time tutors. I guess the fired librarians will need employment, so they might jump at the chance, but it’s no way to run a library.

It’s saying that the school needs librarians but is unwilling to pay for them. If the librarians are so unimportant, why not just get rid of them completely. Think of all the money saved on part time tutors!

The latter part is a great way not to get the general public to care. The cuts might be selling the students short, but the only people who care about damaging the union are the teachers in the union.

And, as often happens, its when talking about the union rather than the students that things go astray. For example, one of the fired teachers was just elected president of the union, and this is how one teacher defended him:

Please respect the fact that teachers took the time and made an overwhelmingly vote for him, to get him in.

Not “he’s a great teacher.” Not “he does a wonderful job with students. Instead, “don’t fire him because we voted for him to be union president.”

Apparently that appeal swayed nobody.

The fired union president doesn’t seem to get how the system works either. He was fired in his third year, before he could get tenure. Three years working and tenure for life is a pretty cushy gig. You’d think someone could just shut up and do their job for three years for the lifetime freedom to complain, but no.

He was also fired from another school during his third year. He believes both firings were because he was “speaking out.”

What one writer calls “the most overused cliche of all time” is the quote misattributed to Einstein that insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

Apparently, that’s not the definition of insanity, but it could be a variety of foolishness. Regardless, it might be in the guy’s best interest to remember a simple formula: protest against the school committee before you get tenure and you don’t get tenure.

And if you want to defend school librarians, maybe it’s a good idea to talk more about how getting rid of them hurts the children and talk less about how getting rid of them hurts the union.



  1. Frumious Bandersnatch says:

    Please tell me that neither quote was from an English teacher. Grammar and sentence structure they overwhelming bad.

  2. Reading interventionist???????

  3. That three year and tenure thing isn’t true. It’s actually three years and then you get a continuing contract instead of a year-to-year contract. They can still fire you for cause. It’s not tenure in the way that we think of it in higher-education.

  4. Never gonna happen. Unions don’t get a rat’s ass about students. Never have and never will.

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