Library neglect hurts

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Caring about librarians means caring about students, which leads to success.

The library is arguably the most important spot on campus for students and faculty to access resources pivotal to success. But the district refuses to approve hiring enough librarians.

What students and faculty need is a library open long enough to service the campus and the district to take responsibility for the problem instead of pawning it off on us.

As mentioned in “Retirement lowers full-time librarian count to five,” of the 30 faculty who took the retirement incentive in the spring, three of them were librarians.

Since then, the library has only been authorized to hire two “staff members” who earn less than their predecessors because the district no longer considers them faculty.

Could this indicate how district officials view faculty? It’s obvious they’ve forgotten how essential librarians are to students who rely on the library for technological resources among others.

With administrators insisting technology is the key to student success, why leave our newly renovated library unacceptably short staffed?

A library with shortened hours and a skeleton crew is a travesty, plain and simple, but it’s not the librarians’ fault. Instead, it’s the fault of the board of trustees, who hear these complaints and do nothing.

Let’s back up. Students deserve an accessible library to research, write and print before classes. The library also keeps textbooks on reserve, but the catch is you can’t leave the library with them.

Library hours reflective of class schedules would ensure time to check out reserved books between classes; night classes should be considered, too.

Proper staffing is required to make sure the library stays open.

And isn’t the district saving money by not printing parking decals? That’s one less expenditure drawn from the campus access fee.

So why not use all the money saved to hire more librarians?

And don’t tell us it’s not that simple. It’s been simple enough to gather thousands of dollars for administrator bonuses and pay raises.

Celita DeArmond is a reference and distance librarian as well as the president of the San Antonio College chapter of the American Association of University Professors.

Not only is she a distinguished librarian, keen on the needs of librarians and library patrons, but she has also been charged with representing the needs of this college’s faculty.

So when she says the librarians are “stretched thin,” we need to listen.

To the people who have the power to solve this problem, we ask that you listen to DeArmond and other experts appointed to make the right decisions.

To faculty, staff and students, it would probably be best to make your voices heard, because when it comes to money, there aren’t many people listening to our needs.


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