Monday, November 7, 2011

How worried should we be by California?

LA Times OpEd
California must value librarians; libraries can't run themselves

Librarians are more than book finders, shelf arrangers, computer technicians and shush-ers. In a society overwhelmed by data, they are the gatekeepers and organizers of high-quality information.
  • "Other states employ an average of one public librarian to 6,250 patrons. As of last year, 3,432 full-time librarians served 37,253,956 Californians. In other words, California librarians were each expected to serve 10,854 patrons. We also employ fewer school librarians than any other state, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. Here, there is one school librarian for every 5,965 students; the national average is one librarian to 865 students."
  • "Still, the idea of shutting down a library is unpalatable to most officials. So they lay off librarians to keep the buildings open, supporting the illusion that libraries can simply run themselves."
  • "As one resident wrote in a letter of protest to the mayor of Anaheim, "Libraries without librarians are like hospitals without doctors." California cannot afford to lose any more librarians without risking the quality of what is left of our libraries as well."
And a response: Saving libraries but not librarians

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