LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Budget cuts in the Los Angeles Unified School District have left roughly half of its elementary and middle schools without librarians.
Esther Sinofsky, who is in charge of library services for the district, told CBS News some librarians are trickling back to high schools, but the loss is still a major concern.
“Our middle schools are where we’re hurting,” Sinofsky said. “Only 16 out of 85 have any teacher librarian.”
Most LAUSD high schools still have library hours, but according to the district’s own data, approximately 300 elementary and middle schools have no librarians or aides to man their libraries.
One of the affected campuses, Roy Romer Middle School in North Hollywood, hasn’t had money to staff its library since the beginning of the school year.
Principal Christine Serrano says the closure is creating further challenges for her economically disadvantaged students.
“Our students need access to books to reference them, to know how to access them and use them,” Serrano said.
Next month, when the school gets some additional funding from the state, it plans to hire a library aide so students can access books throughout the school day.
The district also says it’s making accommodations for affected schools.
“If a school decides they want students to have access to the library, they can do that because the teachers can check out books to the students in their classes,” LAUSD Library Coordinator Valerie McCall told CBS2.
While some dissatisfied parents at more affluent schools have banded together to raise money to keep their campus libraries open, schools such as Hoover Street Elementary School in the low-income Pico-Union area have seen their libraries completely shuttered.
Parent Maria Acevedo told CBS2’s Christy Fajardo that many families at the school can’t afford to buy books and says that checking them out is the only way kids can read at home.