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Monday, November 08, 2010

What a Great Librarian; What a Telling Story

The Times this morning has a story about the great librarian at Roxhill Elementary, Pat Bliquez. She recently on a Golden Apple teaching award for her work. From the story:

"Four-fifths of the kids are on free or reduced-price lunch. About half live in households where English is not the first language. About 40 percent live in homes without two parents."

"Her principal, Carmela Dellino, is direct about her librarian's value to the school and its 335 kids: "In many ways she's the heart of the school," Dellino said. Bliquez is petite, gentle and soft-spoken, but she's "incredibly effective in fostering books and a love of reading. I can honestly say that her library is more full than the playground at recess. They're grabbing books, they're reading, they're exploring books in that way that we want them to."

Bliquez works collaboratively with teachers, to make sure the reading concepts she's imparting align with what they're teaching in the classroom. She runs a read-at-home program: "If they read 20 days with their families, they get a book." She and Roxhill partnered with the Frye Art Museum in a curriculum to develop critical thinking, communication and visual literacy skills. The school runs a family reading and literacy night. Sometimes it serves dinner.

And despite budget cuts, Bliquez continues to build the library: There were 3,000 volumes when she arrived in 1992. There are 12,000 now."

What a great example and what a great thing it is that she is at Roxhill making the difference in so many children's lives.

But let me point out that it was the principal and the librarian who sought out Frye Museum. I may call them and ask but I'll bet it was on their own initiative.

And what is really extraordinary is that the staff voted to keep her full-time. This school is unlikely to have a PTA who funded part of her position. So that means the rest of the staff thought her work (and her benefit to their teaching) so great, they gave up something else to have her full-time.

From the story:

Bliquez, whom her principal values for "her honest and candid approach," is honest and candid in her opinion that the trend toward part-time librarians is a dismal one. When she works with students on reading she has them for a full half-hour, then performs more librarianlike duties such as checking out books. Her half-time colleagues tell her they might have 15 minutes for reading, 15 for checking out books. They report that "they're saying 'hurry up' the whole time," says Bliquez.

6 comments:

Jet City mom said...

And what is really extraordinary is that the staff voted to keep her full-time. This school is unlikely to have a PTA who funded part of her position. So that means the rest of the staff thought her work (and her benefit to their teaching) so great, they gave up something else to have her full-time.

What sort of school district is this- that communities have to make sacrifices in order to have librarians?

We are Seattle- the city of readers! We should have full time librarians in every single school.

Pat Bliquez sounds amazing- she is really making a difference- and Kudos for the staff at Roxhill who appreciate her!

mirmac1 said...

Yay Roxhill! My alma mater. As much as SPS has tried to destroy that school, it rises like a phoenix again and again.

Did they ever paint the big "R" that was losing slabs of paint. Love that maintenance, SPS.

Kathy said...

As long as we are talking about amazing librarians..I'd like to give a shout out to Mrs. Gustafson at Whitman Middle School.

Mrs. Gustafson is another amazing librarian. We're privledged to have her!

Maureen said...

And Steve Haines at TOPS! He has been the heart of our school almost since it's beginning!

And I agree that it is crazy that SPS doesn't value librarians enough to fully fund them under the WSS. Given the variety of duties they are expected to fulfill now, every building should be funded for one without having to sacrifice other key staff positions. AND did you know that schools don't get funding for books past a basic new library when the building opens?

Anonymous said...

Another great librarian: Kristan Gale of McClure!

ConcernedTeacher said...

Ironically, there is a LOT of research out there about test scores and literacy and school librarians. So here we have a proven method to aid student learning, yet the district resorts to unproven methods (MAP, TFA, replacing staff at schools with low test scores that are also in certain zip codes) instead.

-CT