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Las Vegas schools being forced to cut library staff due to lack of money

Posted at 4:33 AM, Feb 28, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-28 12:24:37-05

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Tight school budgets mean tough choices like principals eliminating school librarians.

13 Action News visited Becker Middle School. The school’s principal showed us a computer that she is ordering for the library.

Principal Amy Herring Smith wants 9 new computers at the school.

The school has no certified librarians. They decided to eliminate the position to save $50,000.

Cadwallader Principal Mindy Martinez also cut her librarian position.

She says she would love to have a full-time, certified librarian but it comes down to simple math. A full-time librarian means one less teacher in the classroom.

These principals are not alone.

95 of the 360 schools in the Clark County School District don’t have a certified librarian. That’s according to the Clark County School Librarians Association.

President Robin Carpenter says “We are not fighting for our jobs, we are fighting for our kids.”

Google is a powerful search tool but many kids can’t cite original sources or create a basic bibliography. Skills that are often taught by librarians.

Principals who are going without librarians are getting creative.

Principal Martinez has a retired librarian working one ay a week so kids can check out books at least.

Principal Herring Smith has a library assistant 5 days a week who does the same.

Both use English teachers to cover lessons taught by certified librarians.

The issue is gaining a lot of attention.

Right now, there’s a bill in the state Senate. If passed, it would require schools to have librarians.

But as things stand now, as long as standards are being met, CCSD principals can decide if they want a librarian.

The district says it is a “school site-based decision” on how to ensure the students meet the standards.

What is Raising The Bar?

Together with parents, educators, business and community leaders, 13 Action News will lead the discussion on improving education in Southern Nevada. We will connect families with solutions that empower our community to build a foundation for a successful future. If you have a story idea, email us at raisingthebar@ktnv.com.