[DWJ] Petition on school libraries

Farah Mendlesohn farah.sf at gmail.com
Sat Jan 6 17:26:00 EST 2007

On 06/01/07, Elizabeth Bentley <elizabeth at wardrobe-on-the-web.com> wrote:
>> You
> seem to be saying that higher education, while presumably valuable for
> teachers is unnecessary for librarians. I hope that is a misinterpretation
> on my part.

Actually Elizabeth, I'd make much the same point about inflation of
teaching qualifications. There is little evidence that academic
qualifications per se make better teachers, and at my own level, we've
only become a PhD profession in the UK in the past fifteen years--and
in our case, our profession has been downgraded as our
"qualifications" have risen.

I'm still not wholly convinced, but in part I suspect that's because I
came from an urban school in which the school was in no way central to
life, and the school library was one of about four wthin walking
distance. The situation may be different elsewhere.

I'm still uncomfortable about the petition though, it's a very rigid
demand given that the proportion of a school budget that a
professional librarian would absorb would vary wildly from school to
school: a librarian in a school with fifty teachers, fine, but a
librarian in a school with ten (as my primary school had)?

Now, if it argued that all Local Education Authorities should make
provision for professional oversight appropriate to the needs of the
school, I think that would make a lot of sense. A librarian coming in
to regularly advise a small school is a good use of resources.  Once
upon a time Birmingham did this, but it got lost in one of the many
shake-ups/budget cuts.


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