Thursday, March 13, 2008 | This letter is about school library buildings and librarians and how undervalued the library experience is in the public sector — think about attempts to get a new downtown central library.

One of the inexplicable provisions of school improvement bond measure Proposition MM, passed in 1998, was the building of numerous elementary school library buildings, even though elementary schools have never enjoyed paid library staff. Elementary librarians come from private fund-raising or from volunteers. When Prop MM’s new elementary library buildings opened, too often there were no books on the shelves.

Some years later, during one of the cyclical SDUSD budget crunches, even credentialed secondary school librarians were laid off and reassigned. At that time, many secondary school libraries, among them Montgomery Middle School and Crawford High School, were left entirely unstaffed. What your reporter Emily Alpert describes at Curie is unfortunately nothing new.

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