Monday, November 15, 2010

Jimmy Allen's blog reply to Maxine R Weisz:

Is her reply in fact the very expression of tension between the profession of teaching and the profession of librarianship? More often than not the school library closes at 3.30pm. Where if I may ask does Maxine R Weisz think the students will take their homework? Often
they take their homework to the public library, where the public librarian or children's librarian routinely offers successfully, the very bibliographic instruction and curriculum support that Maxine R Weisz and her colleagues believe you must also be a state certified teacher to perform. Particularly in areas where there are no school librarians, because of the national shortage of school librarians.

In the School Library Journal, June 2003 edition, page 15. It's possible to view the comments of Kathleen Lynch Media Specialist Fords Middle School Fords, NJ who says, "I was just reading your April Edition when I came across a letter from Jimmy Allen who suggested that just because you have a library degree from an ALA-accredited school you can run a school library. I really disagree. Not only do I disagree, his statements to support his position really anger me."

In the School Library Journal, June 2003 edition, page 15.
Deborah Lyman Teacher/librarian Genet Elementary School East Greenbush, NY says,

"Many of us have rigid class schedules, as opposed to flexible schedules, or a combination of both. In either case, we are writing lesson plans, managing classes, and disciplining students. All of these skills are better handled if we have a teaching background. Contrary to Mr. Allen's belief, the school library is a classroom."

Jimmy Allen's blog reply to Deborah Lyman:

I would like to promote thoughtful discussion on this issue. To which I would like to ask Deborah Lyman, if I may please, you assert that being a school teacher is required to give bibliographic instruction. What if there are no state certified teachers who are also librarians available, Deborah Lyman? What if we are in one of the
47 of the 50 states that have an either severe, or very severe shortage of school librarians? Is it then still appropriate to exclude professional public librarians who hold a
Master's from an ALA accredited institution from the school libraries? Even if it means closing the school libraries? Is that in the best interests of American school children?

In the School Library Journal, June 2003 edition, Alice O'Grady Library Media Teacher Wilson Classical High School Long Beach, CA writes and says, "I chuckled when I read Jimmy Allen's letter in which he proclaimed that "everyone" knows that it doesn't take a teaching certificate to provide bibliographic instruction in a school library."

"Dear Jimmy Allen
This letter is a response to Jimmy Allen, who wrote in the April 2003 issue that "ALA-accredited library school graduates don't need to go to a teacher's college to run a school library or to teach bibliographic instruction…" (Letters , p. 15). I beg to differ—and then some." By Jan Ross, Library Media Specialist, Dixie Elementary Magnet School, Lexington, KY, in the School Library Journal, July 2003 edition.

Has my children's librarianship activism in "Get the Laws Changed!" by Jimmy Allen made a difference in the dialog in the profession? How is my editorial being used along with the very thoughtful review given to "Get the Laws Changed!" by Evan St Lifer, editor of the School Library Journal, in his very thoughtful review, "A letter to Jimmy Allen" in the School Library Journal's May 2003 edition. Well here's one example, here's evidence of it being used as a cited resource in bibliographies. For example by the Frederic School District in Wisconsin, as a "List of compiled research dealing with the impact of school library media programs on student achievement. They put together a good listing of bibliographies which you may find worth bookmarking.

Is School Library Gatekeeping.

Let's foster a thoughtful polemic and discussion in the profession, attendant upon the issue of the tension between the education profession and the profession of librarianship. Let's ask ourselves are the teacher's unions really trying to protect America's schoolchildren from the alleged ineptitudes of professional public librarians who have Master's degrees accredited by the American Library Association in the school library? Or are the teacher's unions really primarily focused on their fiduciary responsibility of protecting school library jobs for their membership of certified teachers? What's your opinion? This is your opportunity to voice your opinion and make a difference in the 47 out of 50 states, where there is either a severe, or extremely severe shortage of school librarians. Please remember there are no absolutely right or wrong opinions. But there must be a meaningful dialog within this profession, that deals with what is in fact the deleterious effects of a national crisis in the shortage of school librarians on American school children. Remember the people who are being hurt the most are in fact America's school children. As members of the profession in good conscience, don't we have a fiduciary responsibility to create a meaningful indeed substantive dialog attendant upon this subject matter within our profession. From May '03 to September '03 the School Library Journal published opinions, letters and editorials which were critical of my point of view.The School Library Journal and it's staff should be congratulated for their leadership in promulgating and facilitating this critical dialog within our profession. As it adds value to our lives as professionals.

A Call to Activism.

Here are yet finally some more links to these opinions from other months of School Library Journal issues. As you read these collection of opinions I hope sincerely this will prompt some of you to activism in the support of American school children. Please consider writing your state Governor and legislators, as well as your member of Congress today to get the laws changed! Let's help alleviate some of the pressure of the national shortage of school librarians by getting professional public librarians with ALA accredited Master's degrees in the school libraries today. This will not in and of itself rectify the national shortage of school librarians, but it's a great place to start. So please get involved today because America's school children are worth your time and effort. That's the promise of the American dream!

Links: To School Library Journal Editorials referring to Jimmy Allen by name, critical of the position I am advocating.

# September 2003 School Library Journal The following published editorials articulated rebuttals addressed to Jimmy Allen, by name. (Rebecca Day Petheram, Library Director/Technology Administrator, Wishkah Valley School District Aberdeen, WA) (Janice Weiner, Librarian, Aptakisic Junior High School, Buffalo Grove, IL) (Betci Weldon, Library Media Specialist, Elmwood and Hopkins Schools, Hopkinton, MA)

# August 2003 School Library Journal The following published editorials articulated rebuttals addressed to Jimmy Allen, by name. (Candace S. Broughton, School Library Media Specialist, Cattaraugus Little Valley Middle-High School, Cattaraugus, NY) (Carol S. Dial, Media Specialist, G. P. Babb Middle School, Forest Park, GA) (Michael J. Hebert, Ed.D Media Specialist, Mull Elementary School, Morganton, NC)

# July 2003 School Library Journal The following published editorials articulated rebuttals addressed to Jimmy Allen, by name. (Jan Ross, Library Media Specialist, Dixie Elementary Magnet School, Lexington, KY) (Vonna J. Pitel Library/Media Specialist, District Media Coordinator Cedarburg School District Cedarburg, WI)

# June 2003 School Library Journal The following published editorials articulated rebuttals addressed to Jimmy Allen, by name. (Maxine R. Weisz Librarian/Technology Facilitator Burleigh Elementary School, Brookfield, WI) (Barbara Montgomery, Media Center Specialist, Liberty School Orland Park, IL) (Kathleen Lynch Media Specialist, Fords Middle School, Fords, NJ) (Deborah Lyman Teacher/Librarian, Genet Elementary School, East Greenbush, NY) (Alice O'Grady Library Media Teacher, Wilson Classical High School, Long Beach, CA)

# May 2003 School Library Journal (A Open Letter to Jimmy Allen (Evan St. Lifer, Editor of School Library Journal)

# April 2003 School Library Journal 'Get the Laws Changed' by Jimmy Allen, Business Library Consultant, Seattle, WA

If a Librarian who's also a certified teacher is unavailable, is the school library better off closed than staffed by Librarians with Masters degrees?

Let's effectuate some clear communication. In doing so let's examine the construct of the following postulates. First why is there so much focus on the need to exclude professional librarians from school librarianship in the public schools, unless they are also state certified teachers? Isn't it a fact, that this reasoning embodies the fallacious presumption that there are sufficient numbers of state certified teachers, who are also professionally qualified as school librarians/library media specialists. The fact is that if this assumption were in fact valid, there would be no crisis in the 47 out of 50 US states in a shortage of school librarians today. This reality is however axiomatically ignored and is instead replaced with a polemic, fastidiously focusing on the need to have state certified teachers who are also qualified as school librarians. When in fact there aren't enough, hence a national crisis and serious shortage of school librarians in 47 out of 50 states. Isn't it a fact that this is an expression of the tension between the profession of librarianship, and the profession of teaching in America today.

Does anyone in America or anywhere else for that matter actually honestly believe. That where a state certified teacher who is also a school librarian/school library media specialist is unavailable. That the school library is really better off closed, than to be staffed by a professional librarian, who has earned a master's degree accredited by the American Library Association from a regionally accredited university? Does anyone actually believe that? Because if they don't honestly believe that in their heart of hearts, then the argument of needing to also be a state certified teacher in addition to being a school librarian/library media specialist, that whole argument then goes away.

Or does anyone actually out there truly believe that a closed school library is better off being operated by part time volunteer parents? Whose perhaps well intended weeding practices in order to protect children in many ways mirror censorship. And that these part time well intended parent volunteers serve the library and America's school children better than could a professional librarian, who holds a master's degree from an ALA accredited school of librarianship as part of a regionally accredited university. Is that reasonable to believe?

The ball is in your court now, so it's your turn to post your comments

Here's one suggestion, one idea on how the national shortage of school librarians can be legislated out of existence. Please offer your suggestions.

In the United States of America today the nation's families and school children are faced with a national crisis in 47 out of the 50 states with a shortage of school librarians. The United States is the most highly technological advanced nation on the planet earth. Does anyone reading this believe that we can put a man on the moon, and a robot to Mars, but we cannot put librarians in every American public school.

This writer would proffer that the school library undergo a basic essential paradigm shift from the school board authority to the public library board authority. This new legislation once promulgated could once effectuated offer the possibility of staff sharing between the school library and the public library. It could also offer advantages in scales of economy in the purchase of books and library materials for both the public library and the school library, for the purposes of collection development, collection maintenance, as well as staff training. The net result would be substantive savings in tax payer dollars, while at the same time avoiding the unnecessary expense in the duplication of the purchase of books and other library materials.