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I'm not sure why you are having such a difficult time believing that schools
and their libraries are in real trouble. While student teaching in Iowa (a
state know for its high academic standards), I was in a building with a 1/2
time media assistant - not a librarian. The library was extremely small and
housed mainly fiction. I taught 6th grade science at this school and while
looking for books and other materials to use in my class I found almost
nothing printed within the past 5 years. Is this a place for students to
research science topics or current events - I think not. These students also
lived in rural areas - all were bussed to school from small towns and farms.
They did NOT have libraries in which to do their own research. The most
current piece of reference material they had was a CD ROM encyclopedia that
had just been purchased that year.
YES, there are schools with little or no current reference materials and no
where to find them. I'm sorry I can't provide you with statistics, but maybe
you could do a little research.