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Librarians Try To Shush City’s Staffing Request

Waiver Sought To Have Fewer Workers
Teachers, librarians, parents and students protest in front of NYC DOE headquarter downtown. (credit: Monica Miller/WCBS 880)

Teachers, librarians, parents and students protest in front of NYC DOE headquarter downtown. (credit: Monica Miller/WCBS 880)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Some teachers, parents and students are asking Albany to reject the city’s request not to fully staff its public school libraries, WCBS 880’s Monica Miller reported.

The city is asking state Education Commissioner John B. King Jr. to waive the requirement to have a certain amount of librarians in public schools. The city would need to employ 280 librarians to be compliant, City Councilwoman Letitia James said at a rally in front of Tweed Courthouse on Wednesday.

“And for the Department of Education or this administration to argue that we can’t afford it is ridiculous given the fact that we spend $100 million on charter schools,” James said.

Sara Kelly Johns of the New York Library Association said it would cost about $24 million for the city to staff libraries at state standards.

LINKNYC DOE’s Waiver Request (pdf)

“We have the magic job of collecting the right resources, but they just sit there unless the students are taught how to use them,” Johns said.

Natasha Capers, who has two sons in elementary school, said technology cannot replace the one-on-one help they might receive from a librarian.

“I’m only left to wonder how much better my own third-grader would have done if he had a librarian at his side throughout the school year,” Capers said.

An official with the state Education Department said the city’s request is being reviewed and a decision could come soon.

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