School Librarians May Be On the Chopping Block - 8 News NOW

Alyson McCarthy, Reporter

School Librarians May Be On the Chopping Block

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A lot more students and teachers would be lost in cyberspace if it weren't for library specialist Theresa Nelson. A lot more students and teachers would be lost in cyberspace if it weren't for library specialist Theresa Nelson.

Schools are facing massive cuts that could mean eliminating 500 teacher positions and all librarians at the junior and senior high schools. The district has held public input meetings on those cuts.

Among those attending were members of the Clark County School Library Association. More than 100 librarian positions are at risk of being eliminated and they want the community to know that being a high school librarian goes far beyond shelving books.

A lot more students and teachers would be lost in cyberspace if it weren't for library specialist Theresa Nelson, "Books are actually a very small part of my job."

But among the books and computers is exactly where you'll find Nelson in the library at the Northwest Career and Technical Academy before, during and after school.

"We are the hub of the school, because we have to know what's going on in all the classrooms," she said.

And that's why Nelson, like all of Clark County's 310 school librarians, have classroom teaching experience. Nelson also has a bachelor's, a master's and a wealth of expertise in computers, books and other research related technology and media.

"Being that we live in a global society, we have to have the skills and our students have to be taught the skills to compete out in the world," she said.

"I didn't know where to start on my last project, so she told me about a really good book, much better than the ones I found on my own. And because of that I got a much better grade on that project," said 9th grader Stephanie Doto.

But one of the many proposed cuts being considered includes eliminating all 105 middle and high school librarian specialists to save about $9.5 million.

"So, do you pick a teacher or a librarian? They're both there for a reason because they have an important impact on learning. It's like asking, ‘Do you want me to cut off your left arm or your right arm?' These are the tough decisions we're making and regardless of what we do, students are going to be negatively impacted," said Mary Jo Parise.

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