UELMA Advocates for Libraries!
By: Jessica Moody
UELMA went to bat twice in April 2021 to help advocate for librarians with the Utah State Board of Education. The first issue was that USBE sent out a survey to all parents, staff, and students. In the adult version of the survey librarians were listed as Classified Staff and not listed under Certified Staff or Teachers. There are two problems with this. The first one is that it devalues the role of the library and the librarian in the school. We know that librarians are certified teachers, with many other qualifications. Second, this does not include our paraprofessionals that are classified staff and are critical to library operations. The USBE apologized for their error, but they were unable to withdraw the survey. Instead, they sent a letter of clarification to all LEAs and promised to not let this happen in the future.
The second issue is a matter of funding. Certified Librarians are teachers assigned to a school. However, they were not being included in NBCT stipends in a uniform manner. National Board-Certified Teachers who are assigned to a school are promised a small stipend. However, this depends upon the coding attached to you in Canvas. We are often assigned classes. But, in some cases those codes were being over-ridden, left, or simply another code was used. The Librarian K-12 code was not being considered by USOE as a teacher. Therefore, if the code of Librarian was attached you were not being allowed the stipend. All the codes assigned were accurate. But the issue was that we were not being considered as teachers assigned to a school. There are a few pieces of legislation that apply to NBCT status:
According to the legislation a “National Board-certified teacher” (i) holds a National Board certification; and (ii) has an assignment to teach in an LEA is entitled to the stipend. UELMA fought to have the law re-evaluated, based on the wording of the legislation, and considering librarians being certified teachers who are assigned to a school to teach. NBCT Librarians, and the “Librarian K-12” assignment code in Cactus, are now included in the stipend program. For more information about certification please visit the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards Website.
It is very important that we continue to advocate for libraries and librarians in our schools. It is critical that we continue advocacy to be counted as Teacher Librarians. Not having librarians counted as teachers could have dire consequences up to and including the removal of libraries in our schools. The cascade of issues (including even little errors and classifications) could lead to a litany of issues which could include funding, staffing, or salary related consequences.
The conference edition! While there is a lot of conference material in this newsletter please be advised there is even more happening during the actual conference. Yes you can still register here for #UELMA21Virtual
It is true. UELMA tried to get Jason Reynolds to our conference this year but he had other plans. All is not lost though. Here is an opportunity for YOU to submit a proposal to have him at “your event”!
(an excerpt is below) Please visit the whole story at www.everychildareader.net
“Reynolds will meet with students virtually* in small, underserved communities across the country during the second year of his two-year term to have meaningful discussions with young people. Through his platform, GRAB THE MIC: Tell Your Story, he will connect with, listen to, and empower students in these communities to share their own stories and start their journey as storytellers. “
Who needs some money?! Check out this list of YALSA grants. Many are due by 12/1.
“Apply for the Libraries
Transforming Communities: Focus on Small and Rural Libraries grant
by Dec. 2 for a chance to receive $3,000, specifically for small and rural
- Applicants must have a membership with either the American Library Association OR the Association for Rural & Small Libraries.
- For more information, click on the following link: http://www.ala.org/tools/librariestransform/libraries-transforming-communities/focusgrants“
But wait – there is even more!
“$1,000 Grant available for creative and innovative librarians. Click on this link for more information: Joann Sweetland Lum Memorial Grant. Click on this link for the grant application: Joann Sweetland Lum Memorial Grant Application.
Application and Timeline
Submit an online application by December 1 of each year.
December 1 – Online applications due 11:59 pm
December/January – Applications reviewed by committee
February 1 – Grant recipient announced; other applicants notified.
February 15 – Grant funds distributed to grant recipient
March – November — Grant implemented
November — Grant recipient submits final report/video to YALSA”