Teaching Profession

Should Librarians Count as Teachers?

By Francesca Duffy — May 31, 2011 1 min read
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The Los Angeles Unified School District, which has made headlines lately because of its plans to lay off thousands of teachers, also intends to cut 85 school librarian positions. Bill Chappell of NPR reports that the librarians “have been told that they no longer count as teachers,” and that “the change in classification would make it easier for the school district to cut the jobs.”

Chappell also writes that the librarians are being grilled by the district’s lawyers—with questions such as, ""Do you know how to take attendance?” and “How many weeks are in a school year?"—as an administrative judge is set to determine whether or not they qualify as teachers.

In reaction to the cuts, Nora Murphy, a “teacher-librarian” in Los Angeles, writes in an op-ed piece for the Los Angeles Times that, in her experience, “a school librarian performs the toughest, and most crucial, kind of teaching.” Murphy explained that she made the transition from being a 7th grade teacher to a “teacher-librarian” about five years ago, after her school librarian inspired her to help students become “lovers of literature.” She added that she has “never regretted the decision—until now.” Like many other teacher-librarians, she received a reduction in force notice and may not have a job next year.

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Teaching Now blog.