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> Dear LM_Netters,
>      I am in serious need of help. I just got a part-time, temporary job
> a private school. My job is to weed out the garbage, then order new books
> for the collection. Sounds easy, right?
>     The principal boasts that he can stretch his dollars and not let me
> throw out any books that might be readable. "Books cost money" he says.

    As this is a part-time, temporary job, my response is different than it
would otherwise be.
    With assertive confidence.
    You do not need the aggravation and it is evident this boor is set in
his naive, dictatorial ways.
    Educate him?
    Sure, responsibly make the attempt.  Mention the fact that togas and
petticoats "cost money," too, but this is not sufficient rationale for our
being forced or compelled to wear them beyond fashionable appropriateness.
    Mention, too, that that rotten, moldy orange certainly would have been
scrumptious, if consumed last year--but, he, rather than the kids, should be
the first to have to choke it down, because he chooses not to responsibly
and sensibly replace it with a fresh one, with the tainted one discarded as
the waste it is.
    Does this man need a laxative?
    Businesses are routinely sued for negligently forcing--or merely
offering up--unhealthy fare.  Why would/should a school be exempt, when the
harm to our kids can be (IS) every bit as bad--and lasting?
    Bottom line--someone apparently asked and invited you to do this job.
Evidently it was not the (cough) principal.  He is preventing you from doing
the necessary professional job you were hired to do.  Either you go over his
buried head and get someone with sense to rein him in and discipline him for
his unprofessional bullying dictates, (and/)or you push on, acknowledging in
your letter of resignation that the no less essential task proved impossible
due to an unacceptable reckless and dangerous lack of professional
competence, understanding, commitment or support from those in positions of
power and authority.
    Thereby will you have done your job as best as could be done under
described circumstances.

Take care.



        When I stepped into the room which had been referred to as the
"library," at Paonia High School, prior to the beginning of school, last
year, I noted that every shelf in the place was completely filled with
books.  There were so many books that there were no bookends.  Obviously,
should any number of books on a given shelf have actually been USED, the
remaining volumes would certainly have toppled over.  Also, obviously, this
possibility had not been a concern, or consideration, in Paonia.  Further,
the books, most of them old and faded, had been systematically pushed--most
uninvitingly--to the backs of the shelves.
        As I had been entrusted with the duties of library teacher, I walked
to the end of the room, rolled up my sleeves and tugged at one of these
tomes to make a start in the weeding process.  The book would not come, so
tightly was it wedged.  I tugged again, harder this time, thinking, yes,
that spines were being damaged, but also acknowledging, so much more
critically, that because of just that much resistance, many hesitant, but
potential readers and information seekers would soon give up
the idea of accessing this, or any other book. They would instead shrug, and
walk on, ignorant as before.
        I jerked desperately a third time.  Finally, the book came free.
        And then I cried.
    ... .

        An inaccurate, out of date book kept on a library shelf,
auspiciously for its "historical" value, is as a corpse kept 'round the
house for sentimental reasons.

Jeffrey E. Kirkpatrick
Advocate for libraries, education reform and humanity, in Aurora, CO
e-mail address: jeffkirk@concentric.net

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