[library-media] Provo School Libraries

Ann Tidwell annt@provo.edu
Mon, 20 Mar 2006 11:29:43 -0700

I couldn't open the attachment to Fawn Morgans note with the above title =
but if it was regarding the recent announcement and Daily Herald Article, =
the following is my reply.

Everything that motivates me to value factual information compels me to =
reply to the Daily Herald article of March 15, 2006, PROVO PHASING OUT =
CERTIFIED SCHOOL LIBRARIANS. Part of the reason is that many of my =
colleagues and friends are having their lives disrupted by this decision =
but the larger issue is that CHILDREN IN PROVO SCHOOL DISTRICT WILL BE =

Lets get the emotional part out of the way first.
=E2=80=9C=E2=80=A6we don=E2=80=99t want to disrespect our media =
On two occasions we have requested a meeting with district personnel to =
clarify their intent so everyone received the same information about the =
transition.  The district canceled both meetings.
This is how we have been informed:
=E2=80=A2BYU professor H. announced to his class of student teachers that =
the Provo School District was doing away with elementary Library Media =
Teachers (LMT).
=E2=80=A2A rumor circulated that aides would replace LMTs when they =
retired or resigned.
=E2=80=A2A DRAFT of a proposal was shown to some LMTs by their principals =
that said the transition would be made in 2008. =20
=E2=80=A2Suddenly, however, we have entered a time warp and 2006 is =
That is how our LMTs who have given 270+ years of service to the district =
have been treated with dignity and respect.

Three quotes  - not from the Herald =E2=80=93 but heard frequently around =
the district.
=E2=80=9CProvo School District makes curriculum decisions based on =
=E2=80=9CProvo School District=E2=80=99s number one goal is literacy.=E2=80=
=E2=80=9CProvo School District does what=E2=80=99s best for kids.=E2=80=9D
http://www.iema-ia.org/IEMA119.html gives executive summaries of 16 state =
studies that show the positive effect a strong library program with =
certificated professionals has on test scores (3% to 17% higher), reading =
scores, literacy, and life-long learning.  One of many quotes: =E2=80=9CRes=
earch has shown that school libraries staffed by qualified library media =
specialists are needed to have a positive impact on student academic =
achievement.=E2=80=9D (U.S. National Commission on Libraries and Informatio=
n Science, March 2005. A summary is attached to this email.)  A Goggle =
search =E2=80=9CColorado Study=E2=80=9D (the first of the 16) will bring =
pages of listings with similar positive findings.
=E2=80=9CWe have to direct our resources to where they make the biggest =
impact, and that is in the classroom.=E2=80=9D
The library is one of the most important classrooms in the school.   That =
is why Provo School District has required Library Media Teachers to have a =
BS or BA in Education, and a Library Endorsement or Master of Library and =
Information Sciences in addition to at least three years of classroom =
experience. The Library Media Teacher must know the students and curriculum=
 from Kindergarten through 6th Grade. They teach a three-part curriculum =
mandated by the USOE including Information Literacy, Media Literacy and =
Literature. They must know how to select books that support the curriculum =
taught in the schools, provide teachers with information and materials =
needed to prepare their lessons, collaborate with teachers to extend =
classroom studies, enrich classroom libraries, and provide students with =
self-selected fiction and nonfiction for research, enjoyment and life-long =
learning. Elementary Library Media Teachers usually teach every class in =
the school for 30 minutes each week with an additional 15 minutes for book =
selection and circulation.
Here is typical schedule:
=E2=80=A2Monday =E2=80=93five first grades learn about Antarctica with a =
non-fiction book about seals, penguins, and other animals and their =
adaptations to the environment. Read two storybooks about penguins and =
seals.  Skills: Phonics, left-to-right orientation, reading for information=
, reading and viewing a variety of media for enjoyment, 1st grade science =
curriculum, continent studies.
Afternoon: Two-hour activity lesson with third grade on using the =
dictionary as a reference tool in reading and writing.
=E2=80=A2Tuesday =E2=80=93four 2nd grades use the Big 6=C2=AE research =
process to learn how animals grow, change and adapt to their environment.  =
Continue writing rough draft of an illustrated book to share with other =
second grades on a class-selected subject (rattlesnake, quail, painted =
lady butterfly, woodpeckers). Skills: writing process, reading non-fiction =
and recalling facts, 2nd grade science core.
=E2=80=A2Wednesday =E2=80=93four 5th grades continue a series of lessons =
in the Big 6=C2=AE research process and use biographies, encyclopedias and =
the Internet to prepare a written report on an American Hero.  Subject: =
=E2=80=9CWhat would you put in a suitcase if you were sending your hero on =
the most important journey of his/her life?=E2=80=9D  Skills: research, =
writing process, higher order thinking, brainstorming, reading and =
recalling facts, 5th grade social studies core.  Continue lessons with =
four 3rd grades on comparing and contrasting North and South America in =
terms of terrain, plant and animal life, environment and culture. Skills: =
reading, map skills, using picture maps for information, 3rd grade social =
studies core. =20
=E2=80=A2Thursday =E2=80=93 Five kindergarten classes =E2=80=93 Subject: =
characters and setting in stories.  Read two St. Patrick=E2=80=99s Day =
stories, discuss and describe Leprechauns and Trolls. Recite Mother Goose =
poems. Skills: phonemic awareness, phonics, literary devices, listening =
and viewing, recalling information, memorization. Three 6th grades: two =
are preparing Powerpoint presentations on the five senses and changing =
seasons for Kindergarten buddy classes.  One is finishing written reports =
on the country of their choice and preparing Powerpoint presentations for =
classmates and parents.
=E2=80=A2Friday =E2=80=93 four 4th grades =E2=80=93 Activity to finish =
study of Utah=E2=80=99s forest, desert and wetland.
Co-ordinates game to list and review characteristics of the environments, =
the animals and plants that live there and how they adapt. Skills: reading =
and recalling, co-operation, concentration, test taking, 4th grade science =
=E2=80=9C=E2=80=A6seems to be a perception classified employees are less =
qualified to run the library.=E2=80=9D
Show me a classified employee with the following college training: 12 =
hours children=E2=80=99s and young adult literature, 3 hours managing the =
school library, 3 hours cataloging including MARC records, Dewey Decimal =
System and Library of Congress notation, 4 hours collection development, 3 =
hours statistical analysis and reporting, 6 hours information retrieval, =
reference and readers advisory, 3 hours history of the book, book care and =
preservation, 3 hours Automated Library Systems, many hours of technology =
including: basic computers, WAN and LAN, internet structure and searching =
techniques, Word Perfect, Microsoft Office, Excel, Powerpoint, Photoshop; =
three days intense Follett training, five day information literacy and =
five days media literacy training from the USOE, and you will have a =
classified employee equally qualified to run the library.
=E2=80=A6=E2=80=9Dthese qualifications are not needed in many aspects of a =
librarian=E2=80=99s job.=E2=80=9D
=E2=80=9C=E2=80=A6most of their work can be done by an employee with less =
=E2=80=A2The Utah State Office of Education guidelines for a library aide =
says they maintain the library, circulate books, and occasionally read =
stories to classes.  If there is not a certificated librarian teaching the =
curriculum, it becomes the responsibility of the classroom teacher.  Is =
Provo School District following state guidelines in those schools without =
certificated LMTs?  Do parents and patrons of those schools know their =
children are not receiving an equal education?
=E2=80=A2In any job, there is work that could be done by an employee with =
less education.  Saying a part time aide can do the work of a certificated =
librarian is the same as saying they can do  you in court.
=E2=80=A2It is true that other people could: run the geography bee, =
maintain the school web site, help teachers with technology problems, =
teach the technology curriculum in addition to the library curriculum, =
plan graduation, run the spelling bee, do morning announcements, play =
morning music, supervise the student council, supervise summer-school =
groups, monitor testing, run the home reading program, serve on the school =
improvement team, plan and conduct musical events, conduct school =
assemblies, serve on the school safety committee, provide a pleasant place =
for faculty meetings, be the social hostess of the school, serve on the =
community council, run book fairs,  clean and maintain school equipment, =
order bulbs for projectors and supplies for the copier and printer, etc., =
etc., etc.,  These and many other tasks outside our job description are =
taken on by librarians, under the direction of the principal, for the good =
of the students and the school.
=E2=80=9C=E2=80=A6The district is among the last in the state to make the =
When did =E2=80=9CBut Mom, everybody=E2=80=99s doin=E2=80=99 it!=E2=80=9D =
make it right.
=E2=80=9CProvo School District makes decisions based on research?=E2=80=9D
=E2=80=9CProvo School District=E2=80=99s number one goal is literacy?=E2=80=
=E2=80=9CProvo School Districts does what=E2=80=99s best for kids?=E2=80=9D=

=E2=80=A2Several districts where education is valued have full time =
certificated Library Media Teachers at all levels.  Among them:
Salt Lake School District, home of the University of Utah.
Cache School District, home of Utah State University.
Weber School District, home of Weber State University.=20
=E2=80=9CAlpine School District switched to classified librarians about 15 =
years ago but does it=E2=80=99s own in-house training.=E2=80=9D  And when =
they did, they hired a full time district library co-coordinator, Gloria =
Stratton, who designed a program that required library aides to have 20+ =
hours of college level training.  In other words, their classified =
personnel have the equivalent of a library endorsement.  Alpine School =
District doesn=E2=80=99t believe unqualified people can do the job.  =
Districts with classified librarians have a district coordinator, some =
have as many as five (Granite) to train and supervise.=20
=E2=80=A6will save the district about $250,000 a year.=E2=80=9D
What will it cost our students in terms of life-long learning, lower =
reading scores, lesser ability to collect and process accurate information,=
 lower scores on state and national tests. The effect will not be =
immediately evident. It will take several years before it surfaces in =
upper elementary, then middle schools and high schools.


Ann S. Tidwell
Library Media Teacher
Sunset View Elementary
Provo School District
annt@provo.edu =20