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Libraries are the canaries in the coal mine. This phrase is from our high school librarian, Kenneth Holmes. It refers to the practice of coal miners who used to take live canaries with them into the mine. When the air in the mine got foul, the canary suffered the effects first. When the canary stopped singing, the miners needed to be aware. When the canary died, it was time to leave!
I write with some trepidation, although the superindent has informed me that input is still appropriate regarding proposed cuts to district programs.
I feel Los Alamos taxpayers and parents have the right to know that if our school libraries are the canaries in the coal mines, the singing is growing faint.
The list of proposed school district cuts includes 3.5 FTE (Full Time Equivalent) in downtown administrative positions but two of these positions are being vacated by retiring administrators. Less obviously, the proposal includes 3.7 FTE library personnel. None of these people are retiring. These cuts will be devastating. This is particularly upsetting because librarians were present at all three community “Keep or Cut” meetings, and the words “cut” and “library” were never once used in the same sentence.
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