Thu11272014

News

District librarian Barbara Waight, 16 aides face job termination

When Barbara Waight began working as a volunteer librarian at Springer School in 1988, little did she know, she would end up as the district librarian.

Her position has the possibility of getting cut, along with 16 library aide positions.

"I feel very sad and frustrated that the students, teachers and dedicated library staff will be adversely affected by eliminating the library program," she said. "Right now we have a trained staff working 30-plus hours at each school, we have the newest computer software with online databases and we have substantial collections of relevant, curriculum-related materials."

Waight and her staff of aides do more than just maintain the libraries' collections or check out books. They supervise most of the weekly class visits, teach library skills and help research thematic units for teachers. Library aides also do clerical and cataloging duties.

The Los Altos Educational Foundation has pledged to raise $108,000 toward restoring library services, though Waight isn't sure it will be enough.

"While this is greatly appreciated, it will only be enough to have clerical staff check books in and out on a very limited basis," she said. "Losing Aide IIIs from this district would be a severe loss, as now we have a staff of mostly over-qualified professionals. Many are ex-teachers and go the extra mile for kids. It would be a shame to forfeit the expertise we've worked so hard to build up."

Another aspect of Waight's job that has seen the ripple effect of the budget cuts is the library collection for Covington School, slated to open in August, but now has an uncertain fate.

"One of my biggest jobs the last few months is buying books for Covington," Waight said. "I just bought 10,000 books. I have been buying a duplicate collection. Had I known, I would have distributed the money from the state throughout all of the school libraries."

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