Letters to the Editor

Disappointed by school board proposal to cut 18 percent of the certificated teacher-librarians

We are extremely disappointed by the school board’s proposal to cut 18 percent of the certificated teacher-librarians in the North Kitsap School District. Two of our grandchildren, and all district students, will be deprived of a fundamental building block necessary for a quality education.

As a former teacher of students with specialized needs and a current volunteer at a North Kitsap elementary school, I am aware of the various, often unseen, roles provided by the teacher-librarian. To enumerate just a few:

— They are specifically trained to be instructional and technological leaders of the media center in their schools.

— They collaborate with all teachers to assist in facilitating optimal curricula.

— They provide print and online access to all children and teach them how to do research and evaluate the information obtained.

— They review and research new books and help students find the books that are most interesting and useful for them as well as instilling a love of reading/desire to read that will affect their future success and happiness

These are roles for which a certificated teacher-librarian is uniquely trained and in their absence would not be available for classroom teachers and students alike. A volunteer or library aide (most likely not a certified teacher) is not trained to do these jobs and so the library, without a trained librarian, would simply be a warehouse of books and would lose its other valuable roles.

We are certainly aware of the budgetary restraints imposed on all schools; however, an 18 percent reduction is in excess of the cuts proposed in other aspects of the curriculum.

It has come to our attention that money to fund the librarians could come from delaying turf upgrades or phone systems.  Surely, students would benefit more from fully staffed, fully functioning libraries than from these other two items. We know that having an outstanding library program is crucial to providing our students with the tools necessary to excel in a rapidly changing technological world, to enrich their lives and to be more able to contribute as informed, knowledgeable citizens.

Marcia and Karl Baer


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