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With our budget problems in Alabama, the first places that the governors and
legislators suggest cutting in order to save teacher jobs are areas like
library books, textbooks, technology, and professional development.  This
was done two years ago and is being proposed again.  The schools that have
federal money have backup funding but schools like mine are left out in the
cold.  I did not even apply for the Laura Bush grant or other grants which
state "preference will be given to schools with the majority of students on
free lunch".  I should not have to hold multiple book fairs each year to
have money to purchase library materials.

Those in charge never visit the schools to see the excitement on the faces
of the children when they discover a new book or become excited about
something they have read.  Two years ago the superintendent in my system at
the time took the state library money supposedly to save teacher jobs but
never followed the correct procedures in applying to the state to use this
money and the librarians had to get together to get the money returned
(which we did).  As I am retiring this year, I made sure that I used my
state money this year to purchase a variety of books because who knows when
the money will be given to the schools again.  Our funding formula has not
been increased in 12 years and with the attitudes that are around now, I
have no idea if the library funding will ever be returned to the schools.
Our state virtual library program is also being cut so students will have
less online resources to use to access information.

It is amazing to me that educated people in charge forget about the value of
books and other library materials when it comes to spending public money.
They don't forget to line their own pockets or fund their own pet projects.

Being a librarian gets more and more frustrating each year.  Why did I
choose to retire?

Madeline L. Buchanan
Library Media Specialist
W. J. Christian School (Retiring in May)
Birmingham, AL
Voice: (205) 231-5277
Fax: (205) 231-5279

"The imagination should be allowed a certain
amount of time to browse around."
--Thomas Merton

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