Despite $10M Allocation, Story of HISD Libraries Looks Grim

Judy Hartnett's picture
Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Houston ISD libraries have slipped into further disrepair, despite a $10 million investment over the last three years.

More than 80 percent of HISD libraries fail to meet state guidelines for staffing and book collections, and an additional 20 percent of the district's 289 schools don't even have functioning libraries, according to Houston Independent School District data.

HISD has just 118 librarians this year, down from 157 in 2008.

"It's incredibly disheartening when the largest district in Texas has librarians at less than half of its campuses," said Gloria Meraz, Texas Library Association spokeswoman.

Schools statewide are scaling back library funding in response to the Legislature's massive cuts to education funding. Pearland ISD, for instance, is replacing retiring librarians with library managers, who are not required to have college degrees, said spokeswoman Renea Ivy-Sims.,

Friendswood ISD is asking campuses to share librarians, and Fort Bend ISD cut the second library position at most high schools. (The state recommends two librarians at schools with 2,000-plus students. In HISD, only Westside High School - one of the nine campuses with 2,000 or more students - has two librarians.)

In other cases, libraries are being turned over to clerks and parents.

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