Natomas Unified school library closures

The Sac Bee brings out the sad news that Natomas Unified School District has closed all of its elementary school libraries. It certainly seems like things are spiraling out of control, doesn’t it?

The article includes a foreboding quote from Martha Rowland, district coordinator of library services for Sac City Unified:

“I’m proud of our superintendent and his vision” … “I don’t know how that vision will be funded, but he has the right idea – that libraries are important to kids.” (emphasis mine)

Sac City parents are dreading the dropping of the other shoe on that one …

Author: CoolDMZ

"X-ray vision to see in between / Where's my kimono and my time machine?"

7 thoughts on “Natomas Unified school library closures”

  1. The good times roll with this one, too:

    Unless funding improves, the traditional school library may join band, art, chorus, shop and other programs that have all but disappeared from the education landscape.

    And folks wonder why homeschooling is so popular.


  2. Why can’t they just stop buying new books, and have PTA volunteers come in for a few hours a day. You don’t even need lights turned on. Elementary school libraries are only used during the day, so open some shades, and go back to a non electricity based method of accountability. We are closing libraries in schools, but schools are feeding kids for free. I am not pro-hungry children to teach parents a lesson. I am against schools doing something that has nothing to do with education. Free meals should be provided by someone other than the schools. Imagine if a fire house was shut down, because we used firemen to maintain homeless shelters and couldn’t afford both.

    I sure am glad there are private schools that I can send my kids to(when I have them). Will I be broke? Yes. Will my kids be surrounded by the offspring of people who can’t afford to feed their own children, yet have cable? No.


  3. I tried to read this article, but it turned into a hot tub add and crashed my PC. Thanks again, SacBee!

    And Nick, when you do select a private school you do not automatically get everything that public schools (may) offer. If the school is smaller, there are generally no advance placement classes… the libraries are completely donated (so tend to be geared toward little kid fun reading books only), and the classes offered are directly related to the interests of the current staff (i.e. they do not all hire a Spanish teacher to come in, but if a teacher happens to know Spanish it will be available). Anyway… don’t put all your hopes on a private school unless you can afford one of the biggies.


  4. The money for the free school lunch program comes from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and is part of a package of federal grants that public schools receive annually. School libraries however are funded locally by the city’s school district, and are considered supplemental or “auxiliary” expenses. Meaning, a library isn’t considered a requirement for operating a school, unfortunately. It’s only since World War II that individual schools began providing an on-site library for its students, similar to colleges. Prior to that, everyone was expected to use the public library in town.

    (That said, I learned more from reading the books in my school library than from my classes in middle school, which seemed to move at the pace of an iceberg.)

    School libraries also aren’t just books anymore. Most if not all of them have a bank of computers with internet access, which even in this age of the iPhone and ubiquitous WiFi is expensive to provide. Schools also now have IT departments, which are also expensive to maintain. Even in the current recession, it’s hard to get talented IT people to work at schools, which can’t afford to offer the salaries that the private sector and even the state provide.

    I love how people who have never taught or who have obviously never visited a public elementary school within the last 10 years love to kick the system, especially when it’s down. It doesn’t seem to register that we get the schools we pay for, and right now, we really don’t pay much, thanks to Prop 13 and the refusal to pass tax levies to fund local schools.


  5. My SCUSD school-Sutterville Elementary- is expecting to lose $100,000 for services that pay for a librarian, art teacher, before and after school (reading) intervention programs, the school psychologist, and more. When Ethel Baker and the other two schools in SCUSD were awarded the funds from Target to put books in the school, I wondered if they’d be fortunate to also receive funding to have a professional work in the library.

    And, BTW, to the guy who said PTA parents could run the library. That is something we’re exploring but parents’ time is already stretched..and those low-income schools the parents are really not available. People from the community can also participate provided they meet the background check. Get involved!


  6. Nick, Nick, Nick… Don’t you know?!? Only UNION members know the Dewey decimal system. If anyone else tried it, they might get really hurt. Or lost. Or confused. Or something. But that something could be REALLY bad. So no- you can’t just use “PTA volunteers.” What about the children?!?

    So count your blessings that your kids are surrounded by those who “can’t afford lunch” but have 18 HBOs (8 of them in then “Mexican” version of Spanish). At least they won’t get hurt trying to play in the library without proper supervision.

    @steph… “[at] those low-income schools the parents are really not available”… Yeah. I bet. MARRIAGE MUCH ANYONE?? Maybe you should re-phrase that to the singular/illegal? “Background check?!?” To SHOW KIDS HOW TO USE THE LIBRARY? Don’t want any Iraqi’s sneaking in?


  7. My child goes to a SCUSD school in East Sac – loves the library and will be broken hearted if her access to it is eliminated. Our school funds the librarian and art teacher (and programs) via the Parent Teacher Group and its fundraising – this sucks but is so very necessary.

    When I was single and childfree (but still a homeowner) – I paid taxes into the system to ensure that public school education was somewhat on par with what I received (lo, those many years ago). It angers and saddens me today that we seem to be paying more and more for less and less and most folks seem to be okay with it! I guess that what shocks me – the apathy when it comes to basic community services. Parks, libraries, etc. – no one seems to care when these things go away . . .

    @ Susan – parents at middle/upper income schools are not available either. I’m shocked by how disengaged most of the college educated/upper middle class parents are . . . and most of the moms are stay at homes! Just sayin’ – this is not just a low-income problem . . .

    @ Nick – good luck with that private school thing. Obviously you plan on having a two income household – cuz your nut for the K-6 privilege is gonna cost you not just in $$, but also in your time, too. I, too, thought private school was the answer for us! It wasn’t!

    @ Turty Squip – the background check is necessary (per the school district) for any type of volunteer activity in the classroom and outside school activity where the adult will have prolonged contact with the children. (The background check is performed by Sac PD – not Homeland Security!)


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