Calling School Librarians to Action! Another Attempt to Undermine Our Jobs

My blood is boiling.  I read this article online today after it was shared on Twitter by Rebecca Oxley (@LibrariansFTW).  This excerpt is what got my dander up.  And that is a dangerous thing to do with a Southern gal:

“The new divide is such a cause of concern for the Federal Communications Commission that it is considering a proposal to spend $200 million to create a digital literacy corps. This group of hundreds, even thousands, of trainers would fan out to schools and libraries to teach productive uses of computers for parents, students and job seekers.”

Looks like the FCC has no idea that our schools have a ready-made “digital literacy corps” in place.

Chairman Julius Genachowski was quoted in the article.  He recognizes the importance of digital literacy, but he is ill-informed. He does not know that there are already trained professionals in many schools who work, against great odds at times, to train our students and who volunteer to teach parents these skills.

Let’s not let him claim ignorance before spending this money.

Send him an email( Julius.Genachowski@fcc.gov) informing him that WE ARE THE DIGITAL LITERACY CORPS (feel free to copy or adapt the following):

I just read the NY Times May 30, 2012 article entitled “Wasting Time is New Digital Divide in Digital Era.”  As an educator, I realize the importance of information and digital literacy.  As a school librarian, I have been trained to teach information literacy skills.  I collaborate with classroom teachers to teach lessons in which I incorporate these skills.

However, the recession has had an enormous impact on school libraries.  Many programs have been completely cut; others are being run by volunteers rather than a certified school librarian; and other programs have lost their assistants, whose job of handling routine procedures freed the school librarian to plan with teachers.

I noticed that the FCC is considering “a proposal to spend $200 million to create a digital literacy corps. This group of hundreds, even thousands, of trainers would fan out to schools and libraries to teach productive uses of computers for parents, students and job seekers.”

Although I applaud the intent of teaching digital literacy skills to our students, I question the expenditure of these funds.  Why not instead funnel these funds into school library programs to allow trained, certified professionals to teach the skills?

I look forward to hearing from you on this vital issue.

Will you contact the FCC?

Image used through a CC license:  http://www.flickr.com/photos/smemon/5683575389/

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16 Responses to “Calling School Librarians to Action! Another Attempt to Undermine Our Jobs”

  1. Janet Kenney (@LibraryLadyJ) Says:

    done! with additional comments on how standardized testing and curriculum requirements also hamstring efforts to teach productivity. In my school, teachers are too concerned making sure they get through the curriculum, that tech skills are always a side lesson–which never leads to much retention.

  2. Auntie Librarian Says:

    Perhaps you should consider including your public library counterparts in this call to action?

    • Fran Bullington Says:

      I agree with that, Jennifer. I composed this post yesterday right after I read the article, and as always, was struck by how it would effect my profession first. Our public libraries do MUCH to provide digital literacy training for their patrons and I am sure they are feeling the slap in the face I felt when I read the article.

  3. Anna Bolognani Says:

    Thanks for bringing this to our attention…

  4. Calling School Librarians to Action! Another Attempt to Undermine Our Jobs | Learning, Teaching & Leading Today | Scoop.it Says:

    […] background-position: 50% 0px ; background-color:#222222; background-repeat : no-repeat; } informania.wordpress.com – Today, 5:03 […]

  5. Deborah McLaughlin Says:

    Did it, and passing it along. Thanks for the post.

  6. Diedre Conkling Says:

    By the way, the American Library Association immediately responded to this issue. See District Dispatch: http://www.districtdispatch.org/2012/05/ala-wastes-no-time-our-work-on-digital-literacy/.

  7. Digital Literacy Corps aka Librarians « biblionna Says:

    […] needed to get this off the ground. Fran Bullington, a school librarian who writes at Informania has already put together a sample letter: To: Julius Genachowski, FCC Chairman […]

  8. Meg Allison (@meg_allison) Says:

    Vermont School Library Media Specialists are on it. Even though we’re are northern clime folks, our blood boils, too!

  9. Librarian Says:

    As a public librarian who teaches technology, I was offended to hear that the FCC wanted to bypass librarians. Why not dedicate part of that funding to hire tech training librarians — or to properly fund the existing programs. Good grief. Thanks for sharing!

  10. Update: Librarians ARE the Digital Literacy Corps « Informania Says:

    […] Joyce Valenza noticed my little post last week (Calling School Librarians to Action) and reposted it on her NeverEnding Search blog.  It then grabbed the attention of thousands of […]

  11. Don’t Write Off ALA’s Work on Digital Literacy and the FCC Before Reading This | Librarian by Day Says:

    […] across libraryland and some bloggers took issue with it including Fran Bullington who wrote  Calling School Librarians to Action! Another Attempt to Undermine Our Jobs which Joyce Valenza reposted on Never ending Search. Fran states Looks like the FCC has no idea […]

  12. The ALA/FCC/Digital Corps Debacle « Agnostic, Maybe Says:

    […] was seen as an affront to Fran Bullington who wrote a blog post entitled, “Calling School Librarians to Action! Another Attempt to Undermine Our Jobs”. Pull quotes: Chairman Julius Genachowski was quoted in the article.  He recognizes the […]

  13. Doug Johnson Says:

    Sorry, Fran. Not much sympathy here. My response “At whom should our anger be directed?” bit.ly/LnDW8U DOug

  14. What do we do and why do we do it? Says:

    […] Specialist Fran Bullington (2012) posted the following on her blog, […]


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