Wednesday, July 17, 2013

What Librarians Make ... a Difference

Someone just shared this on one of the LinkedIn groups I belong to.  This School Library Journal Blog post is a couple of years old, but as timely and relevant as the day it was written.  And tho' written by a school librarian and school libraries it is just as relevant to public libraries and the librarians who work there.
The post "What Librarians Make : A Response to Dr. Bernstein and an Homage to Taylor Mali" was written by librarian Joyce Valenza in November 2010.  It seems that Dr. Bernstein, Superintendent of schools in Valley Stream, NY, had written an opinion piece in Newsday calling for Governor Cuomo to ease the burden on school districts by getting rid of those antiquated rules about mandatory librarians and library collections at the high school level.  The truly frightening thing to me is that  this man manages to be a school superintendent while being completely ignorant about such an important aspect of the education process, but that is neither here nor there.  Ms. Valenza's response to Dr. Bernstein was excellent and well worth your time.
Because the bottom line is that what librarians make is A DIFFERENCE.  We make a difference in the lives of our patrons.  We connect people with information ... correct information ... the answers they really need.  We connect job seekers with free computer access, resume writing books and classes, job fairs, and skill building classes, online sources, and (yes) books.  We connect children with literacy skills and a love of reading that will enhance their ability to learn.  We connect the community with programs and outreach services.  We connect readers of all ages with books that educate, entertain, challenge, touch, and help them.  We build bridges across the digital divide providing access to resources  that not everyone can afford on their own.
It is mind-boggling to me that we are still having this argument.  That there are authors, publishers, and education professionals who think that librarians are a relic from the past is sad.  It's sad for them, sad for us as librarians, and sad for the community.  Libraries provide a valuable service to their communities and the most valuable resource they provide is LIBRARIANS.

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