Letter to the Editor

A letter of concern about the cut of the school librarian position at the Chelsea High School:

I have heard from several concerned sources that the school librarian position at Chelsea High School will be cut in the 2018-2019 school year. This greatly distresses me, especially considering that the elementary school librarian position at the Mary C. Burke Complex was also cut in recent years. As the children’s librarian at the Chelsea Public Library, I know how important it is for students to have a qualified librarian at their school, and how much it will hurt their opportunities for success if the position is eliminated.

The school library is much more than a place to check out books. A school librarian provides specialized instruction as to how to navigate the world of information and how to choose reliable sources when doing research. There is so much information on the Internet that has students typing queries into Google and getting lots of hits, but without learning the skills to evaluate the information they find, how can they know that what they find is relevant and true? School Librarians know how to teach those skills, as well as providing guidance towards books they will enjoy to develop their own reading sense.

One might argue that if there isn’t a school librarian, students can just go to the public library instead. In reality a school librarian does things the public library cannot possibly do. School librarians are part of the school; they know the teachers, the teachers know them and they work together on a daily basis so school librarians can make sure students have what they need to complete their assignments.

Located within the school, a degreed and certified librarian is accessible to the students, and just as important, the librarian has access to the students. While all students go to school and are occasionally required to visit the school library, many are unable or unwilling to go to the public library. Without a school librarian, students will not have the instruction that ensures they will be effective researchers and become capable of teaching themselves.

Students who are still typing their questions into Google and printing out the first link they click when they graduate from high school will arrive at college or their first job behind their peers. Professors at colleges, and increasingly employers expect students or employees to be information literate; able to find reliable sources and learn on their own. Without a school librarian, students are missing out on developing important skills that no other class is teaching.

Students in Chelsea deserve more than this. While school funding is tight and hard decisions have to be made, this is a sacrifice Chelsea High students should not have to make.

Martha Boksenbaum

Children’s Librarian

Chelsea Public Library

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