Archive for May 2011

Do you take Attendance?

May 30, 2011

From Jane Yolen:
FYI: I wrote this yesterday, posted it on my FaceBook page with permission to send it everywhere:

A letter to the administrator in charge of firing LAUSD school librarians who had the Board of Ed’s lawyers take the librarians into the school basement and asked them to prove they were teachers with such questions as “Do you take attendance?”

Dear Mr. Deasy:

As the author of 300 published books (yes, that is not a typo!), many of them winners of the highest awards given for children’s and adult books, I have to commend you for closing libraries. You are turning out the lights in children’s minds.
It will make them much easier to recruit as cannon fodder, much easier to move them on conveyor belts, much easier to treat them as cattle.
Of all the people who work in a school, teachers and librarians are the heart and soul of the place.  Not administrators.  My late husband was a professor and later on an administrator. You should have heard what he had to say about top-heavy administrations.  I suggest you take the administrators (yourself included) and ask them the same questions the lawyers are asking the librarians in the basement:  Do YOU take attendance?  Do YOU teach in the classroom?  Perhaps you should fire the administrators first.  And the overpriced lawyers.  And when you do, you will no doubt find you have the money to keep the librarians.
And the library. The ones who turn on lights in children’s minds and guard the flame in their hearts. With or without taking attendance.
Yours very truly and to tell the truth angrily as well,
Jane Yolen

Thank you Mrs. Yolen.  Those of us in the libraries salute you. 
The first item on my agenda for Tuesday will be to make a bulletin board display with covers of your books along with your letter. 
Mrs. Hot Library Tech

Notes from Home

May 9, 2011

Did ya ever have one of those years when it just started off wrong?  Despite all your positive thoughts, mantra chanting and the stress management class that you had to pay for yourself, cuz God knows the “Ministry of Magic” wasn’t going to pay for it… 
From the moment the first bell rang on the first day of school you just intrinsically knew that everything was off on the wrong “foot” so to speak? 
That was the year 2010/2011. 
The first day of school a new 9th grader walked in the lobby doors – (we’ve been at this a long time – we can spot a 9th grader a mile away…) and the Red Flag warnings went off.  It was like a hurricane was starting – like an ill wind was blowing into Port Royal bringing with it something far worse than pirates.  Parley….

The wind blew in a 9th grader, who when he had barely reached the main floor of the library, uttered these now famous words, (with us anyway) “Well, this isn’t a very good library!” 
Strike One. 

I knew from the first unfortunate conversation, that quite frankly this student had a problem(s).  My boss did not recognize him from her other school but with librarians being spilt into at least 3 pieces – who knew.  I called my sister school to check.  Let’s just say that this 9th grader was not someone that anyone would be able to forget.  He did not ring a bell with my fellow hot library tech friend. 

My librarian being the wise woman that she is, searched the data base to find what middle school he had come from.  That’s when we saw his “rap sheet.”  I could share the list of offensives, but probably some bleeding heart liberal would comment with – “Oh, but the poor misunderstood teen!” 

@#$%^!  This student stole from teachers and the library – Lewd and lascivious behaviors directed to a teacher
He was banned from the library in 7th grade due to his rap sheet. I looked over at my boss and said, “He’ll be a library assistant over my dead body…..” 
Strike Two. 

We had multiple contacts with “Jasper” daily. 
I have stories that would curl your hair. 
Do you want to hear the porn on the flash drive stories? 
Sure you do. 

To make a long porn story short….Jasper was on a student computer, viewing something that was on his flash drive.  We assume it was loaded at home.  After several attempts to check that he was doing, I went upstairs and watched him over the railing.  After scrolling thru the third or fourth photo of (really UNattractive) women spread eagle in cheap underwear…at least it wasn’t men…..I shut him down. 
That was to be Jasper’s last day on computers. 
He knew this, yet a few days later he snuck upstairs when he knew that I was very busy and began using a computer that was hidden from my view.  He didn’t get far as I caught him and he was busted. 
Strike Three. 

My only relief from Jasper were on the days when he didn’t come to the library because he couldn’t find his ID – honest I didn’t hide it…or when he was out sick.  Oddly enough, he had great immunity. 

Several times a day he would check out the allowed limit of the popular Manga genre.  Then he would read them in class as opposed to….I don’t know….say actually paying attention!  I know this because a variety of teachers would bring back our library materials to us.  (One of his semester teachers mercifully gave Jasper an extra 5 points to achieve a “D-” just so said teacher would not have Jasper darken the door to his classroom again.) 
Can’t say as I blame him. 

Once, a neighbor to our school walked on campus to return three books that Jasper had left on the street corner.  (Total book cost $60)  We should have cut off his library privileges at that moment.  One morning, and I forget the exact reason, the librarian told Jasper that we would not check out anymore books to him without a note from his mother. 

A few days later, Jasper arrived in the library, three minutes before the “Be in your seat” bell rang.  “Here’s the note from my mother,” he said.  Choking back hysterical laughter, this is what I read: 

                    I, “Jasper’s mother”, Hereby give peimission to my son Jasper to be able to check out manga
                   Books From Your Libury.  Note: I Never said He cant get them. I Just said He cant read them
                   in is Class all the time.

This parental excuse was followed by the worst forgery of a parent’s signature that I have ever seen…If they awarded Oscars for “worst forgery” – this would win. 

The seasoned librarian just shook her head.  “Jasper,” she said, “give me you home phone number, I will have to talk to your mother myself, before we check out any books to you.  Guess you will just have to listen in class and actually participate today.”  Jasper stormed out and nearly broke the doors when he exited the building.  We looked up his contact numbers in the data base…no surprise that the number listed on the note and the computer did not match; and all the numbers were “no longer in service…”  Jasper had an answer for that later in the afternoon. 

The librarian emailed the parent and although we received an answer back that it was acceptable for him to check out library materials, we really had no way of knowing if the person on the other end really was his mother.  Whoever it was, the grammar in the email was as bad as it  was in the note. 

A note or phone call – it really didn’t matter either way – because at the end of the week, Jasper physically/verbally threatened one of his teachers and she was not afraid to call the police and file charges.  Jasper was suspended, he was gone from our campus for over a week.  A hearing was called and Jasper was expelled from the school district. 
What a relief – I saw it coming the minute he walked in the doors.