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Pulling Library Staff to Sub for Other Teachers

I'm the school librarian in a very small school district. We have a high school library and an elementary library in our K-12 building, and I am fortunate enough to have a full time para in each library. As we are such a small district, we don't have a lot of subs. Sometimes we have trouble finding subs to cover everything that needs to be covered, and it seems like the library paras are the first ones they go to when an outside sub can't be found. My paras have been asked to cover for other paras in the building, the front office staff, the kitchen, and my high school para has even been pulled to sub for other teachers since she is certified.

I'm all for being a team player and helping out, but where does that leave the library? Is it fair to close the libraries so frequently and deny students the opportunity to check out library books and other library services in order to cover something else? And now today I've been told to cancel my elementary computer classes for the afternoon to sub in the kindergarten room because no subs are available. Again, I'm fine with helping out, but I don't want this to become a regular thing where it's okay to cancel my classes and have me subbing all over the building while the library is closed. 


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I have been asked to cover for classes in schools where I have worked. It puts the librarian in a very bad spot: if we don't cover for a teacher, those students lose instructional time, and if we do cover, other students lose instructional time.  It is important when talking about it to leave out the issue of "not valuing the library program."  I've tried that, but it sounds like I am taking it personally. The real problem is that when librarians cover for teachers, those 25 students might be getting a teacher in the classroom, but the other 500 students are deprived of having a teacher in the library.

I was looking for examples or information about this, and found this article on Education World.  Sadly, the school district was commended for having librarians and assistant principals cover for teachers for several weeks. There are many issues at play in school staffing, I realize: teacher compensation, cost of living, opportunities for advancement, and burnout are a few. The bottom line is that the library serves the entire school, and closing it is like closing the gym or the playground - a vital part of the school is inaccessible to the entire learning community.

I am completely agreed with Jennifer and I have the same situation very often 

more suggestions are welcomed 

I think you could think of on-line classes. Possible alternative in study.

We are in the same boat here.  We take it in stride.  I do cover frequently at the high school but the classes come to the library so I do not have to shut it down. They work quietly and it does not generally disrupt the day.


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