What’s That Smell…?

Smell that?
Yes, the wonderful and rich aromas of spring time renewal.
But that other smell? 
Sure. Concentrate. It’s out there.
If you’re a teacher-librarian in North America then you may already be acutely aware of this odour.
It’s budgetary and staffing time in school districts big and small, rural and urban, and that familiar smell is of teacher-librarians having to again go on the defensive (Why can’t we ever become proactive? is a question that always begs) again.
It’s that time of the year when school boards and administrators begin making projections for staffing based on probable student enrollment for the coming fall. Unfortunately, it’s also the only real hard evidence that district leaders have to go on when crafting a staffing budget; and the need to make the hard (and thankless) decisions about the personnel within schools. Nevertheless, the teacher-librarian and school library programs are again focused squarely in the cross-hairs.
Image used courtesy of Creative Commons
It’s also the time of the year where the media becomes flooded with stories of teacher-librarians having to defend their relevance (ad nauseum), and the school libraries within which they do their work. Even after only five years in this position it has become an all too routine event that make the month of May an uneasy one as stories of colleagues fighting tooth and nail for their jobs increase with regularity.
Image used under Creative Commons
 In California, school librarians face an inquisition of sorts, having to justify not only their positions in the library, but as teachers, too; basically as part of the state public education system. My apologies, but demeaning and pathetic are the best that I can do…
In Ontario, the Windsor school board is looking to axe its library technicians and do away with all of its school libraries. An article in the Globe and Mail today acknowledges the alarming rate at which school districts are choosing to destroy their school library programs. 
Image used courtesy of Creative Commons
The People for Education, an Ontario grassroots registered charity, is concerned about the declining number of school libraries and those facilities that are inadequately staffed. This year a survey, involving more than 2000 schools, revealed that school libraries are rare, and those operating to any significant level are even rarer.
I have my suspicions that this situation is going to get a whole lot uglier before it gets better. Hold on tight, and try not to inhale too deeply.

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