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Glendale Unified considers shelving librarians

By Megan O'Neil, megan.oneil@latimes.com

Librarian positions at four Glendale Unified high schools may be eliminated for the 2012-13 school year as the district tries to balance budget and staffing variables, officials said.

The four librarians — who are also credentialed teachers — at Glendale, Hoover, Crescenta Valley and Clark Magnet high schools have been notified that they could be moved from their current positions back into the classroom as the district works to create breathing room in its ever shrinking budget.

“As much as we try and keep things as usual, things aren’t as usual,” school board President Joylene Wagner said Monday.

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The move hadn’t been officially decided, she said, but because it had been put on the table of possibilities, “they need to be notified that it is an option.”

The district is working to design a new model for its high school libraries in which low-level support staff, overseen by an assistant principal, would supervise the facilities, Assistant Supt. for Human Resources David Samuelson said. The new model could allow the district to extend the hours of the high school libraries, which currently run from 7:45 a.m. to 3:15 p.m.

“We still want our libraries to be a key part of our campus,” Samuelson said. “We want them open longer. We are all going to be working hard to develop a new approach to our libraries.”

It wasn’t immediately clear how much money the plan would save the district, Samuelson said, but the reassigned librarians would continue to earn the same pay in their new classroom positions, although they could be moved to a different campus.

The proposed changes do not sit well with at least one of the four librarians. Leslie Beaton-Snyder has overseen the library at Crescenta Valley High School for nine years and says that the job involves much more than simple clerical work. She and her colleagues are responsible for purchasing materials, as well as cataloging and organizing the entire contents of the library, Beaton-Snyder said.

At Crescenta Valley High School, that means managing 17,000 books.

“I don’t just go and buy any old book,” Beaton-Snyder said. “I have to buy books based on the curriculum and what teachers need for their classes. Beyond that, I also try and get books that are going to spark teenagers’ reading interests.”

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