With the advent of the Internet, libraries have almost become obsolete. And while we all understand the role that teachers play in our children's education, many people don't realize the important role librarians play in helping to educate students.
Ashley Case is a librarian at Woodrow Wilson High School in East Los Angeles. She said that many people are surprised to hear that she is preparing to be a part of a potential upcoming teacher strike because they don't understand that librarians are still an essential part of the school system.
“People don't realize that it's not just teachers that make the schools run, its nurses, counselors and librarians like me,” Case said.
To become a librarian in the Los Angeles Unified School District, candidates are required to have been a classroom teacher. Because of this requirement, Case is credentialed in English as a Second Language Administration and Library Services. And while books and research are part of her job description, Case says she does much more than that.
"In today's large classroom sizes teachers don't always have the time and the resources to assist students with technology, printing their papers, how to use Word how to make graphs. That's where I come in," said Case.
As a lifelong Valley resident, public school education is part of Case's family history, and so are teacher strikes.
“My grandmother was a history teacher at Van Nuys High School, where I went to school, where my daughter goes now, and where my mother taught bilingual Kindergarten," said Case. "I remember her making the picket signs for the 1989 teachers strike in our garage.”
One of Case's biggest concerns is the expansion of charter schools.
“I personally am concerned about the privatization bringing in unregulated charter schools with non-union teachers pulling away kids from our community schools. It's happening, it's draining millions of dollars from our district," said Case.
One of the greatest rewards of her job are the letters of appreciation she gets from her students. She has a stack of letters next to her computer.
“Dear Miss Case," one of the letters says. "Thank you for being such a great library and teacher. I truly wouldn't have chosen another teacher to see every day for seventh period. You are so caring towards your students and make us feel like more than just a student. Please never change your great.”
If LAUSD and United Teachers Los Angeles are unable to come to an agreement and a strike is called, Case will be walking the picket line to show the importance of all teaching positions, and to continue her family tradition of supporting public education.