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Glendale school librarians get moved to classrooms

Three high school librarians will switch to teaching positions and be replaced by clerks.

May 30, 2012|By Megan O'Neil, megan.oneil@latimes.com

Three of four Glendale Unified high school librarians will be reassigned to classroom teaching positions as the district works to address ongoing budget challenges, officials confirmed this week.

The reassignments come three months after Assistant Supt. for Human Resources David Samuelson announced that budget constraints were forcing the district to reevaluate its library services.

The teacher-librarians at Glendale, Hoover and Crescenta Valley high schools, credentialed by the state to both teach and provide library services, will return to the classroom for the start of the 2012-13 school year, Samuelson said.

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The libraries will be staffed with non-credentialed librarian clerks supervised by an administrator, saving the district money on salaries.

“In such uncertain times, this is one of the ways we can reduce our expenditures,” Samuelson said. “It is certainly not something we want to do. We have had our librarians for a long time.”

The librarian at Clark Magnet High School will remain in place after the principal there opted to reallocate staffing dollars to keep her, Samuelson said.

The high school librarians were notified about a possible reassignment in March and immediately expressed objections. Credentialed librarians are an invaluable campus resource, they said, adding that numerous studies show links between student performance and libraries services.

On Wednesday, Lisa Parish, who has been in charge of the Hoover High School library for 14 years, called the decision “really unfortunate.”

“I just think that ultimately it is not going to be a good outcome....” Parish said. “I guess they will find out what kind of shoes we fill here.”

Currently, high school library hours mirror the length of the school day, Samuelson said. Under the new model, the library hours will be slightly increased to run from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The system has proven effective in other school districts, Samuelson said, including in Covina Valley Unified, where he previously worked.

“We had clerks in the library under the supervision of an administrator and it worked very well,” Samuelson said. “It just provided more hours for the students, and what we saw happen is the teachers took a more active role in the library for research.”

The librarians' new classroom positions are still being determined, he said. They will continue to earn the same pay.

Restoring the librarian positions will be an option if the district's budget outlook improves in the coming years, Samuelson said.

“We will be evaluating [the new model] and discussing it throughout the year, and getting feedback as to how it is working,” Samuelson said.

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