Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Many thanks to author Jane Yolen for her support of school librarians!

The following was posted on "The Fractured Keyboard," 

Niki Masse Schienfeldt's blog:


Children's Book Diva, Jane Yolen, Fires Letter to LA Administrator Regarding Firing of School Librarians

If you're a children's writer or even a fan of children's literature you surely know who Jane Yolen is. To me she is the ultimate children's book diva and a woman who is very respected in her field. When Jane talks books, people listen. Recently, an infuriated Yolen penned a letter to administrators in the LA area regarding an issue where the Board of Education and their lawyers questioned school librarians to assess their "teaching" skills. Here it is in Jane's own words:

Letter to the administrator in charge of firing LA school librarians who had the Board of Ed's lawyers take the librarians into the school basement and asked them to prove they were teachers with such questions as "Do you take attendance?".

Dear Mr. Deasy:

As the author of 300 published books (yes, that is not a typo!), many of them winners of the highest awards given for children's and adult books,

I have to commend you for closing libraries. You are turning out the lights in children's minds. It will make them much easier to recruit as cannon fodder,much easier to move them on conveyor belts, much easier to treat them as cattle.

Of all the people who work in a school, teachers and librarians are the heart and soul of the place. Not administrators. My late husband

was a professor and later on an administrator. You should have heard what he had to say about top-heavy administrations. I suggest you

take the administrators (yourself included) and ask them the same questions the lawyers are asking the librarians in the basement: do YOU take attendance? Do YOU teach in the classroom? Perhaps you should fire the administrators first. And the overpriced lawyers. And when you do, you will no doubt find you have the money to keep the librarians.

And the library.

The ones who turn on lights in children's minds and guard the flame in their hearts. With or without taking attendance.

Yours very truly and to tell the truth angrily as well,

Jane Yolen

At this point, all we can do is hope that Administrator Deasy sits up and takes notice. As far as I am concerned a library is the heart of any school. Can you even imagine a school without books? Thanks for your efforts Jane!

-Niki Masse Schoenfeldt

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