Library resources needed after budget layoffs

October 3, 2013 (CHICAGO)

There is concern that students are not getting all of the library help they need.

Thursday Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced more resources in all public libraries for students. There will be homework assistance at the libraries and online.

While those resources are expanding, it seems library resources in some Chicago Public Schools are shrinking.

A shipment of books at Hyde Park Academy will go to a classroom with special needs students.

Thursday, members of the Chicago Teachers Union are delivering books to some schools that lost their librarians.

The Hyde Park's librarian was laid off.

Although CPS says an assistant librarian is staffing the school's main library. In all 33 librarians were laid off this year according to CPS.

"If we want to have children career college ready, we need resources and we need them ready to do research and the person that provides those research skills ultimately is the school librarian," CTU's Kathy Murray.

Michael Saelens was the librarian at Lowell Elementary School. He was laid off and explains librarians do more than check out books.

"How to use the data bases, how to use the Internet, that sort of thing. That's a big part of the job right there. How to avoid just going to Google and Wikipedia," Saelens said.

Patricia Zimmerman was the librarian at Orr High School. She is concerned about her former students that struggled with reading.

"If you have reluctant readers, closing the door to the library isn't going to help them. They really need to be able to come in an feel comfortable," she said.

Whittier Elementary School has classroom libraries, where students check out books from teachers.

CTU delivered books to the school Thursday as well.

Dulce Garduno would love to have a fulltime librarian at the school to offer more services. For now she encourages her first grader's reading.

"Having contact with books, it's beginning to read. Look for more information. It's the first contact with the world," Garduno said.

CPS CEO Barbara Byrd Bennett released a statement saying in part: "While more than 92 percent of all district-run schools have a central library, most that remain have classroom libraries that ensure students have access to the books and tools they need to thrive. However, we will not be satisfied until we have central or classroom-based libraries in every school."

This year CPS closed nearly 50 schools.

While all of the welcoming schools have libraries, not all have librarians currently.

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