Thursday, March 31, 2011

Footnotes for 2d letter: 85 Teacher Librarians Laid Off

Following are the footnote references for the Kathleen Sheppard's (Teacher Librarian, Taft High School) sample advocacy letter in support of the 85 LAUSD Teacher Librarians just laid off:

1. Todd, Dr. Ross J. and Dr. Carol A. Gordon. “School Libraries, now more than ever: a Position Paper of The Center for International Scholarship in School Libraries.” CISSL and Rutgers State University of New Jersey. 12 Mar. 2011. 14 March 2011.

2. California School Library Association. Model School Library Standards. Sept. 19, 2010. 14 Mar. 2011.

3. Achterman, Douglas. Halves, Haves and Have-Nots: School Libraries and Student Achievement in California: Doctoral Research. 14 Mar. 2011.

4. See Todd, Dr. Ross J. and Dr. Carol A. Gordon

5. See Todd, Dr. Ross J. and Dr. Carol A. Gordon

2d Letter: Sample Advocacy Letter: 85 LAUSD Teacher-Librarians Laid Off

2d of 2 letters from Kathleen Sheppard, Teacher Librarian, Taft High School, Woodland Hills, CA (Los Angeles Unified School District or LAUSD).

She urges all to write, email and call to advocate on behalf of the 85 Teacher Librarians laid off by LAUSD...


Dear Mr. Cortines and LAUSD Board Members:

Strong School Libraries Build Strong Students! Our students need strong school libraries.

Students need the library team of a certificated Teacher Librarian and a paraprofessional library aide. Five decades of research substantiates that school libraries help students learn. “School libraries are learning laboratories where information, technology and inquiry come together in a dynamic that resonates with 21st century learners.” Teacher Librarians are dually credentialed teachers---teachers of essential skills including research, cyber safety and digital literacy.

The Teacher Librarian teaches the Model School Library Standards: “School Library Standards for Students’ that incorporate information literacy skills in which students learn to access, evaluate, use and integrate information and ideas found in print, media and digital resources enabling them to function in a knowledge-based economy and technologically-oriented society.” California public schools with strong school library programs tend to outperform those without such programs on the state’s STAR tests. This trend holds regardless of the school community’s parent education and poverty levels, ethnicity, and percentage of English language learners. Strong school libraries help students learn.

Students that have access to more books and a teacher librarian read more and learn more. Collective evidence suggests that the number of books per student in a school library is a significant predictor of reading achievement. Teacher Librarians help students at the convergence of reading, information and thinking. Today’s students are challenged by texts they retrieve from subscription databases, Internet web sites and electronic books in addition to traditional print. Reading is different today and Librarians teach students about digital text.

"Despite the facility that the 'Google generation' uses the Internet, today’s learners are not more information literate than previous generations.” Multiple literacies, including digital, visual and technological literacy are critical and require explicit help to make sense of the store of information, disinformation, and misinformation encountered daily. The instructional role of the Teacher Librarian is critical in this sense-making process.

Our school libraries provide a learning laboratory with resources in multiple formats that can differentiate instruction for diverse learners and providing equitable access for equal educational opportunity.

Our school libraries contain over $280 million of taxpayer funded print and electronic information in addition to the technology, including hardware and software. It’s irresponsible to leave these valuable taxpayer resources unused and vulnerable to destruction. Teacher Librarians maximize through collaboration students' access and use.

I urge you to reconsider the lack of centrally funding both middle and high school Teacher Librarians. Our students and our communities will lose. The challenges of the 21st century call for a more collaborative teaching model with a natural synergism of information, technology and reading. Cutting Teacher Librarians is not the solution to facing the challenges of preparing students for the future.

READ the research. Review the data. How much of a difference do school libraries make?

It’s clear. Promote equity, opportunity, and achievement: restore central funding of Teacher Librarians for both middle and high school students. It’s about the bottom line, student achievement. “School libraries, now more than ever, are integral to quality learning and teaching in 21st century schools.”

Our students---all our students---need strong school libraries.


2 Letters: District Letter: 85 Teacher-Librarians Laid Off

First of 2 posts with letter texts:

Following is a letter from Kathleen Sheppard, Teacher-Librarian at Taft High School in Los Angeles, re layoffs of 85 Teacher-Librarians:

Dear Parents, Teachers, Staff and Community members,

Strong School Libraries Build Strong Students! Our students need strong school libraries.

As of the February 15, 2011 LAUSD Board decision, 85 Teacher Librarians have received reduction in force notices issued by March 15, 2011. LAUSD has already closed 13 middle school and 156 elementary school libraries. Your voices make a big difference in rescinding that board action!

School sites may be able to purchase through Title 1 funding a Teacher Librarian position. However, many schools will not have funding creating a lack of equity to educational resources across the district for our students.

Teacher Librarians are teachers of essential skills-research, cyber safety, digital literacy. We teach the Model School Library Standards: “School Library Standards for Students’ incorporate information literacy skills in which students learn to access, evaluate, use and integrate information and ideas found in print, media and digital resources enabling them to function in a knowledge-based economy and technologically-oriented society.”

Our students need strong school libraries in order to become informed citizens, who are ethical users of information and ideas, digitally literate, good readers and lifelong learners prepared for college and careers in the 21st century. Teacher Librarian positions must be centrally funded by the District.

What can you do?

1. Contact through e-mail, FAX and mail both the Superintendent, incoming Superintendent and School Board Members listed below. A sample letter has been emailed to you to use or write your own. [NOTE: Will be posted next.]

2. Speak at an upcoming LAUSD Board meeting. Contact me directly,

3. Join the guestbook at the California Campaign for Strong School Libraries website at

4. Contact your local elected officials ask request that the tax extensions appear on the June ballot! Call your legislator and tell them to let the people vote.

5. Request that the board RESCIND the decision to layoff personnel that affects the classroom.

Thank you! Your voice and that of LAUSD students make a difference.

Kathleen Sheppard
Teacher Librarian
Taft High School
5461 Winnetka Avenue
Woodland Hills, CA 91364

Ramon C. Cortines
Board of Education
Superintendent of Schools
333 S. Beaudry Ave., 24th Floor
Office of the Superintendent
Los Angeles, CA 90017
333 S. Beaudry Ave., 24th Floor
Tel: 213.241.6389
Los Angeles, CA 90017
FAX: 213.241.8953 or 213.481.9023
Tel: 213.241.7000
FAX: 213.241.8442 and

1. Ms. Marguerite LaMotte

2. Ms. Monica Garcia

3. Ms. Tamar Galatzan

4. Mr. Steve Zimmer

5. Ms. Yolie Flores

6. Ms. Nury Martinez

7. Mr. Richard Vladovic

John E. Deasy
Deputy Superintendent of Schools (Incoming Superintendent)
Office of the Superintendent
333 S. Beaudry Ave., 24th Floor
Los Angeles, CA 90017
Tel: 213.241.7000
FAX: 213.241.8442

Post 3: 85 Teacher-Librarians laid off-Los Angeles Unified School District

Post 3 of 3 on this issue... NOTE: Sample letters will be posted to this blog shortly.

And finally…

“Last night my school site [Taft High School] with reduced funds did not fund the Teacher Librarian for 2011-12 school year. Although the principal is supportive, I have found an extreme lack of knowledge regarding the critical need for our students to have skills taught by Teacher Librarians. I believe that the district intends to close all school libraries. I shared the Ed Code clearly stating the requirement for a Teacher Librarian-a dually credentialed teacher especially at the high school level.

Last year, after some negotiations the District centrally funded Teacher Librarians at the high school level but not the middle school. In reading my letter you can learn what happened given that reality--I believe a civil rights violation.

I'm attaching two letters that I've written and will be sharing with advocacy groups. Please use the information and share.

Thanks for your assistance!



Kathleen Sheppard
Teacher Librarian
Taft High School
5461 Winnetka Avenue
Woodland Hills, CA 91364

Post 2: 85 Teacher-Librarians laid off-Los Angeles Unified School District

2 of 3 posts...

More from Kathleen Sheppard, Taft High School:

“…As a class code of dually credentialed teachers we believe
that the intent is to close the libraries. And eliminate us. Our
layoffs hit teacher librarians who have worked for the district for 22
years. That's much greater we believe than other district teachers.
Last year both MS [middle school] and HS [high school] were possibly going to get RIF. Though negotiations, the district funded Teacher Librarians at the high
schools but not middle schools. Most middle schools were able to
"purchase" their teacher librarian. 13 middle school libraries are
closed now. I believe this is a civil rights issue. We have a meeting
with an attorney at UTLA tomorrow. The "recency clause" is also a
district attempt to render us as NOT suitable to teach in our first
credential. As of today, 85 will not have a job after June 30. We were
told that we could sub. Ed Code and our contracts specify that Teacher
Librarians are the only teacher qualified to teach in the library
classroom. The district is already violating that Ed Code too.

Strong school libraries = greater student achievement.

Yes, share and circulate the ignorance in this thinking by the
It's about our students,



Kathleen Sheppard
Teacher Librarian
Taft High School
5461 Winnetka Avenue
Woodland Hills, CA 91364

85 Los Angeles Teacher Librarians laid off! (1 of 3 posts)

1 of 3 posts on this issue...

Yesterday, Kathleen Sheppard, Teacher Librarian at Taft High School in a suburb of Los Angeles reported the following very sad news:

“Sadly given the [LA Unified] school district fiscal status, 85/130 [85 out of 130 total middle and high school] Teacher Librarians have been RIFed [Reduction in Force = layoff notices]. We have a meeting with a UTLA attorney tomorrow evening. It seems that for many we are educating our school sites, parents, students, school board and superintendent about libraries, Teacher Librarians and student achievement. I believe that the district intends to eliminate our teaching positions. School Site Council had to decide to fund with reduced categorical money either a diploma project counselor, two counselors, Teacher Librarian, computer support tech, library aide and/or .5 school nurse for Taft high school 2011-12 year. All are essential on a comprehensive high school campus.

The Model School Library Standards, Ed Code, WASC, CTC, union representation and stakeholder advocacy may hopefully cause the board to rescind the decision for personnel that impacts the classroom. It's disheartening to need to justify that the library is a classroom and that we are dually credentialed teachers of information literacy, digital literacy, ethical use of information and cyber safety as well as facilitating access to resources to differentiate instruction.”



Kathleen Sheppard
Teacher Librarian
Taft High School
5461 Winnetka Avenue
Woodland Hills, CA 91364

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Responses to Google Books Settlement Rejection

The University of California's California Digital Library (CDL) and HathiTrust have posted responses regarding the Judge Chin's decision to reject the proposed Google Books settlement.

CDL post:

HathiTrust post:

Friday, March 11, 2011

ACRL Instruction Section's Innovation Award

From the ILI listserv, re the Award for the LILAC program:

On behalf of the Awards Committee of the ACRL Instruction Section, we are pleased to announce the recipients of this year's Instruction Section Innovation Award, Kimberly Davies Hoffman and Michelle Costello. Hoffman and Costello received the award for developing LILAC (Library Instruction Leadership Academy), a collaborative professional development project designed, organized and delivered for regional K-12, community college and college/university librarians.

Sponsored by ProQuest, the annual award recognizes a project that demonstrates creative, innovative or unique approaches to information literacy instruction or programming.

Congratulations to Kimberly and Michelle! A prize of $3,000 and a certificate will be presented to Hoffman and Costello during the 2011 ALA Annual Conference in New Orleans.
Please see the full ACRL announcement for further information:

Elizabeth Kocevar-Weidinger and Robin Ewing
Co-Chairs, ACRL Instruction Section Awards Committee

Elizabeth Kocevar-Weidinger
Instruction/Reference Services Librarian/Associate Professor Greenwood Library, Longwood University
201 High Street, Farmville, Virginia 23909
tel: 434.395.2445
fax: 434.395.2453