Thank you for running the article 'Schools shelve more libraries' (May 29). Finally the people of this city are getting a picture of what's happening in our schools.

Our school librarian has gone from teaching full-time to being a three-quarters-time librarian, quarter-time teacher. Next year she will be half-time teacher and half-time librarian. A lot of schools aren't even lucky enough to have this.

Our librarian is phenomenal, but it would be almost impossible for her, or anyone else, to do those two jobs and do them well. Even with library aides and volunteers, it's extremely difficult for her to keep up with all the work that needs to be done. Just imagine what the next school year will be like.

I remember a few years ago when there was talk about shutting down some of the smaller branch libraries in Multnomah County. There was such a public outcry. Nobody in this city wanted to see that happen.

Well, what about our schools? Why should any of the schools in this city - affluent or otherwise - have to shut down their libraries or have them be run by unqualified personnel?

Parents of schoolchildren and other adult members of this community need to get behind the movement promoting the idea that every school library position be funded by the school district. We need equity in our schools and I believe this is the only way we're going to get it.

Kay Cicalese


Library closures have ripple effect

I grew up in the Highland Park school system in Dallas, Texas, which had terrific libraries in each elementary, junior high and high school. Ninety-five percent of the graduates went on to college.

Students could go to the school library after their class work was finished for the day, and the libraries were well-used. Just about all the students had a book from the library at any given time.

In the 12 years I spent at the Highland Park school system, it was standard practice for the teachers to say 'you can read now' when our class work was completed. As a lifelong learner, I still read a lot of books.

Students shared what they read and discussed books informally. Nobody had to line us up and prompt us.

We also had required library reading where we did written and spoken book reports.

I moved to California after graduation from college, where I taught and substituted in several school districts including the San Francisco Unified School District.

But it was in these districts that I discovered not all school boards or administrators understand the relationship between learning to read and having a large number of wonderful books to read.

It was difficult for the students and also for the teachers who had to spend their time finding books to bring in for the students.

I'm appalled that the Portland school system is closing school libraries. This is an irresponsible policy, and it hurts the kids, teachers and librarians who are losing their jobs, and the future of our city and nation.

Marian Drake

Northeast Portland

Social conditions need schools' scrutiny

As a former Jefferson teacher who was 'reconstituted,' then a Marshall teacher who retired when the district launched this other birdbrained idea of small schools ('Marshall takes stock at four-year milestone,' June 5), I just wish the power structure could admit that academic problems lie in the social conditions of these schools.

If I was an effective teacher at these two schools, it was because I spent long hours after school working with the families of my students.

Either invest more money in social workers or leave these kids alone. They know how to survive a society that really doesn't want them.

Bob Carrico

Northeast Portland

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