Making it work

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    I must protest this cutting of the so-called “Dynix” librarian.

    1. This is not an unfilled position. Emily Cable, retired elementary library coordinator, and I have filled it for the last two years. Since I have used up the amount the State Teachers Retirement System says I can earn, Carol Kim, Samohi librarian on maternity leave, has taken it over. Emily Cable is still doing it.

    2. “Dynix” librarian is a misnomer. While I was at Samohi, I added this to my duties, as did the librarians at John Adams Middle School and Malibu High School. To facilitate this, the district hired a full-time librarian who could serve as our substitute while we went out to schools new to the Dynix Scholar System (the online library system we use) to install programs and train staff at elementary and secondary schools. The district hired this “floating librarian” so our school libraries would not suffer from a string of nonlibrary media teacher substitutes who did not know how to further the information literacy skills we were teaching.

    3. I also served as “system administrator,” the person who deals with system security issues, troubleshooting, upgrading, and overall management of the software part of the system. This is usually a full-time position in other library jurisdictions or school district.

    4. Meantime, through tax overrides funding (another is due to come up next fall), it became possible to purchase Dynix Scholar site licenses for all the schools in the district. This means adding the library collections of all the schools to the Union catalog, a catalog that now encompasses all the titles of all the books in all the schools.

    5. Bringing the rest of the schools into the system meant massive training of elementary library coordinators and massive inputting of their holdings (book titles).

    6. All of this was done by full-time librarians and elementary library coordinators who were not only managing their own libraries and library programs but also improving access for 11,000 students and their teachers to the combined collections of all the libraries.

    7. Most library systems (public and academic) and school districts would have two full time professional librarians to fulfill these functions: systems administration along with the training and coaching of professional and nonprofessional staff; and a supervising professional librarian for elementary school libraries.

    8. Without this position, the elementary library coordinators and all people new to the library staffs of all schools have no one to train them and no one to turn to with problems and troubleshooting. The system, while user friendly, still needs to be taught. Checking out books and cataloging may look like a simple operation, but it is not automatic and people need to learn the procedures.

    9. Tens of thousands of dollars have been spent putting this system into place and making it operational. Partly this came about because voters in the school district put libraries and technology at the top of the list as a reason for taxing themselves through a tax override. The District Advisory Committee on Instructional Technology has supported it. It seems very foolish not to keep the position that makes it work.

    Mary I. Purucker, library consultant