[DWJ] Petition on school libraries

Belben, Philip (Energy Wholesale) Philip.Belben at eon-uk.com
Tue Jan 9 04:57:20 EST 2007

Farah wrote:

> 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)?

I think you're still reading things into this petition that aren't
there.  The petition is not rigid at all, as I interpret it.  It merely
requires that (a) there be a school library and that (b) there be
someone "professional" to run it.  In particular, the librarian needn't
be full-time or exclusive to the school.  I can think of any number of
business models that would meet this!  How about:

1.  The school contracts with the local public library for a librarian
to come and work in the school two or three mornings a week.  The public
library could have two or more staff familiar with the school, and
whoever is available could go over and do the job.

2.  Several schools pool their resources to hire a single peripatetic
librarian between them.

3.  Two or three schools, all in one part of a town, have a communal
library that serves all the schools and is run by a full-time (or maybe
not even full time) librarian.

In any of these models, additional library work (checking in and out
books, putting aside damaged books for repair, database maintenance,
etc.) could be done by teachers or even pupils, leaving the librarian
free to manage the acquisition policy, research, managing the repair
process, and other things that librarians do best.

Thinking more about it, I would say that a small primary school with
only ten teachers is the sort of place where library expertise is least
likely to be available in-house, and a law requiring them to have a
librarian in to help them once a week would prevent the bean counters
cutting off this important function.  I see it therefore as beneficial,
rather than a drain!

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