In Praise of Teachers and Librarians

From my many school visits over the last five years, I’ve come to appreciate teachers and librarians. They are the ones who are expected to find the best books for kids, and that chore is often difficult. First of all, year by year, teachers and librarians are burdened with more and more administrative duties, expected to process more paperwork and give more personal time for the same pay check. Secondly, because of these time restraints, they are forced to rely on reviews and advertisements for new books, since they can’t read everything being published. The following anecdote will suggest why this situation is problematic. Lately, just about every mom I run into goes on about a certain novel as being the “best book of the year for middle graders.”  More often than not when I ask them about the book, they confess they haven’t read it, but they’ve seen it advertised on every website available, so ‘it must be good.”  Teachers and librarians are also subject to this kind of promotion but somehow they manage to find the real “best books” on their own. And when some of these “best books” have material that might upset politically correct public school systems, these same teachers and librarians have to straddle a fine line between getting these books into the hands of kids and pleasing PTOs and parents in general. Yet somehow they always pull it off. So today, let’s give them a nod, instead of beating up on them for the well-deserved rests they get in the summer, when, more than likely, they’re on search for more “best books.”

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