I am responding to “Troubled Information Water," published in the Aug. 18 newspaper. Jean Gritter, West Albany High School’s media specialist, was spot-on describing her job with the help of an assistant. I am troubled with the words of Brenda Downum, Corvallis School District communication director, who reported that Corvallis schools have 14 media specialists in the schools. This is not correct.
A media specialist, also known as a certified librarian, is a teacher holding a master’s degree with a valid teaching license. The job requires 45 hours of graduate credits in library science. I know because I was a teacher, then a media specialist, in the Corvallis School District for 40 years.
Multiple studies have found students thrive academically where librarians spend time planning collaboratively with teachers, teaching information literacy skills, providing professional development, serving on school leadership committees, facilitating the use of technology by students and teachers, and providing reading incentive programs.
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I highly respect the job the library aides in the district do each day. These people are underpaid for the responsibilities that are placed on their shoulders. They are not paid to teach. Do not let the district convince you they are funding media specialists. There have been many presentations to the board and endless discussions with the district office for the need of certified librarians/media specialists for many years. I am truly disappointed in Ms. Downum’s use of the word, media specialist. It is like comparing a certified nursing assistant to a nurse.
Corvallis (Aug. 20)