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I get that these are tough times.
I get that people are just doing the best they can.
I get that when your supervisor or someone in that position asks you for 
information that it is your job to get that for them.

I also hope that the members of this community are not providing models for 
unstaffed libraries.

First of all- an unstaffed library is not a library- it is a storage facility for 
books and media and technology. Books, media and technology that are aging. It is a 
very big closet.

I have seen what this looks like first hand in NYC. When I became a librarian, I 
started my career in the public library. We often partnered with local school for 
summer reading programs and cultural partnerships. We often met in the "school 
library" It was a dystopic experience.  Old dusty books, 15 year old encyclopedias. 
pieces of overheads and projectors. Shelves full of books that weren't in any 
order, leaning willy-nilly. Stacks of duplicate copies from long gone reading 
programs. Faded construction paper peeling off bulletin boards. What happened here? 
I would ask. Oh the district... the city...the school ran out of money so they let 
go the librarian. The revitalization of the school libraries in New York only 
happened in the last ten to fifteen years. It was part of recognizing that without 
this vibrant center for literacy, the school administrators were basically saying, 
literacy is NOT something we really care about.   Did this turn-around happen in 
every school? No.  But I have seen what happens when the school librarian is let 
go. It isn't pretty. The public library will not step in. Our public libraries are 
understaffed right now, with the same budget restraints.

 I don't believe there is such a thing as an unstaffed school library anymore than 
there is such a thing as an unstaffed math class.


Lisa Von Drasek 
Children's Librarian
Bank Street College of Education
School for Children Pre-K- 8 
610 West 112th St
NY  NY   10025

212 875 4452

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