Lack of Library Training Programs a Problem

This past Thursday I went to a dinner in honor of two good friends who are retiring after many years of service to my school district. I will truly miss Jackie and Michele.  They brought a lot to our program, and I learned valuable lessons from both of them.  They were two I could always count on attending our unpaid professional development sessions and two who counsel I regularly sought.

Replacing these ladies are two wonderful women who will work hard to continue the programs they inherited.  I have worked with Meghan this year and found her a delightful, dedicated National Board Certified teacher who is devoted to her students’ learning.  It was my pleasure to serve as her mentor this year, as I served as Gina’s last year.  Today, I met Jackie’s replacement, Wendy.  She was my cashier at WalMart, and as we were chatting, I discovered she would be the “new Jackie.”  I liked this woman and her attitude immediately, and discovering I would be working with her was a true delight.

My county will be welcoming two additional, brand-spanking new library media specialists this year, and I look forward to meeting them as well.  But I have reservations.  All of the media specialists who have been hired by my county in the last three years have received their certification by means of passing the library media Praxis exam.  In other words, they have received certification without taking a single class.  The circumstances leading to this is that West Virginia has only one higher education institution that offers coursework in school library media.

While I have no doubt that these women are excellent teachers, as Meghan has exhibited by achieving National Board Certification, I am concerned about a lack of foundation in the library profession. I try upholding the documents of our profession  to the fullest extent possible.  I know the precepts of the profession, the Code of Ethics, the Right to Read, etc.  When I stray away from these documents, I have an awareness that causes the decision to be uneasy and not likely one to repeat without intense scrutiny.  I know when I have strayed from a standard, from the sisterhood, if you will.  Will others lacking these foundations be as unwilling to stray?  Will they know when they have strayed?

I am excited to work with these women and will help them all I can.  I will do my best to make sure they are aware of the professional documents and understand their responsibilities to uphold them to the fullest extent possible.

Other concerns I may have about cataloging and other matters are easily taught and learned.  Basically, everyone learns mostly on the job, anyway. It’s not the mechanics or teaching that worries me; what worries me is the potential fading of the soul of our profession.


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