Yesterday I wrote about the power and importance of libraries. The research also states that the presence of a certified librarian is essential in the role of libraries in terms of achievement. I have been so fortunate to work in a department that educates folks who want to become school librarians for the past 25 years. In that time, I have come to know so many wonderful school librarians including my colleagues: Holly Weimar, Mary Ann Bell, Rose Little Brock, and Karin Perry. My best friend, Lois Buckman is a retired librarian though you would not know that because she simply moved to another state and began doing her library thing in a public library. The colleagues and friends I have met and made at conferences and through professional organizations have also added to my knowledge (and my reading list): Deb Taylor, Liz Burns, Sharon Rawlins, Sharon Grover, Mary Burkey, Jen Huber Swan, Jack Martin, Sophie Brookover, and SO many others have been and continue to be inspirational. These folks have educated me about the role the librarian plays in literacy, in the culture and community of reading in a school.
As a teacher, I might have been able to influence the 150 or so students I had in my classes each year. However, the school librarian has the chance to interact with each and every child in the school. Imagine that influence! And the librarian is not just a fabulous resource for book recommendations; the expertise extends into many other aspects of the library and librarianship.
Collection development, reference, administration, cataloging, advocacy: these are just a few of the other work of the librarian. Unfortunately, there are schools cutting their positions as well as either eliminating or changing the role of the library within the school. This is so short-sighted. These men and women offer much to all the population of a school: kids, staff, faculty, administration, community, parents. We need to support them, work with them, use them as a resource, and advocate for them. Every child, every school deserves someone who can connect kids with books and with the world of knowledge that expands every single day.