PD Discrepencies between Public and School Libraries

c/o Shucker

Every once in a while an acronym gets thrown around and, I’m the dummy who has to ask, “What does that mean?” PD, for example, stands for Professional Development. I suppose I hadn’t heard the initials before because the public library culture is, as I’m discovering, different from that of school libraries’. Public librarians are amazing folk who scramble to meet the ever-changing needs of their diverse communities with shrinking staff, budget and support. I adore public librarians. However, they are not as into “PD” as my school librarian colleagues.

Don’ believe me? My current library director reneged on an offer to cover my registration and mileage for an upcoming conference at which I will be presenting. That’s right. I will be representing the public library I work for on a panel presentation without reimbursement or, I’ll bet, any recognition.

School librarians, the ones who are still employed that is, struggle to prove their worth to a state that foolishly believes Common Core State Standards will somehow get integrated into the classroom via teachers — teachers who are overworked and trained to teach their own subject-matter.

Too many of the AMAZING California school librarians I know have been kicked out of their campus libraries. Since they are, in fact, teachers, their districts had the “money-saving idea” of putting school librarians back in the classroom to teach Spanish, PE, etc., and employing paraprofessionals to take their place in the library. What a WASTE of professional resources!!! I can only guess the long-term effects to students who now have even fewer professional librarians to guard their privacy, to teach them digital citizenship, internet navigation techniques, or to encourage them to read for fun.

California school librarians blow me away with their tech savvy know-how and cutting edge professionalism. How did they get to know and do so much? They keep up with PD! They plan, present, and attend workshops, webinars, and conferences. They seem to do so more frequently than public librarians.

It’s weird for me to be  involved with both school and public libraries. Whenever I work at the latter, I feel like I’m stepping back in time. However, there’s no way to overcome the PD obstacle in California because who will be left to cover for you if you wanted to attend a conference or webinar? There’s too little staff to cover lunches as it is. I get that.

Woe is California when it comes to its overwhelmed, undervalued librarians!

And, phooey! Since I wrote and submitted my conference proposal and will be presenting at the conference on my own time, the least the public library I’m representing could do would be to recognize my accomplishment with a kudos… Registration cost, of course, would be even better.

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