Restrictions Hinder School Librarians’ Stock

Students want new books. Thanks to restrictions, librarians can’t buy them.

Schools are struggling to keep their shelves stocked as oversight by parents and school boards intensifies

By Hannah Natanson

In one Texas school district, school librarians have ordered 6,000 fewer books this year than the year before, because under a new rule parents must have 30 days to review the titles before the school board votes to approve them. In Pennsylvania, a school librarian who must now obtain her principal’s okay for acquisitions has bought just 100 books this school year, compared with her typical 600.

And throughout Florida, many school librarians have been unable to order books for nearly a year, thanks to their districts’ interpretation of a state law requiring librarians to undergo an online retraining program on “the selection and maintenance of library … collections” — which was not published until this month. Julie Miller, a librarian for the Clay County School District, has not been permitted to order a book since March 2022. In a typical year, she would have ordered 300 titles by now. Instead, she has had more than a hundred conversations with disappointed students seeking fresh titles, she said, especially the latest books in their favorite fantasy series.

“It puts me in a terrible position,” Miller said. She has had to brainstorm a novel use for the 40 percent of her budget formerly devoted to books: “This year, I’m going to replace all of our chairs in the library.” Read the full story at the Washington Post.

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