Libraries in the news

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Legislators push for more librarians in Michigan schools

At a time that Michigan students are falling behind, three bills have landed in Lansing for further discussion. In 2018, the Michigan Department of Education released statistics that showed less than half of Michigan third and fourth graders read at grade level. Michigan ranks 47th in the nation for its ratio of students to certified librarians — it’s also in the bottom five in literacy. The two statistics have legislators like State Rep. Darrin Camilleri questioning why more isn’t being done to increase the presence of librarians in schools. Earlier this year, Wayne State launched a program to certify media specialists because so few exist after years of attrition. During recessions many schools began to look for areas to cut within their budget — media specialists were among the first positions cut. Some experts believe it’s directly related to the state’s literacy concerns. “It’s unfortunate, but we see correlation between the decline of certified librarians and the decline in our students literacy scores,” said Kafi Kumasi, a professor at Wayne State University.

Wayne State to Offer Experimental School Librarian Certification Program

Created to address Michigan’s low literacy rates, Wayne State University’s School of Information Sciences (SIS) is launching an experimental program for spring/summer 2019 aimed at increasing the number of professional school librarians in the state. Kafi Kumasi, assistant SIS professor and lead developer of the program, says the time is right to act on “new synergy” in the state’s educational system and legislative bodies. 
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Wayne State launching new program for librarians

As fewer and fewer students are meeting literacy standards in Michigan there’s a problem that experts say could be connected: Too few schools have certified librarians. In Michigan only 8-percent of school librarians are staffed with a full-time certified library media specialist, more than half don’t even carry a library staff. Kari Kumasi, an associate professor at Wayne State, believes that it’s a crisis that isn’t being discussed. “It’s unfortunate, but we see correlation between the decline of certified librarians and the decline in our students literacy scores,” explained Kumasi. It’s not that the literacy concern isn’t being acknowledged.
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General Motors offers buyouts to 18,000 workers: 'The world is changing'

General Motors is a technology company that makes cars, and the skills its employees had yesterday are continuously becoming outdated. Experts say that is the underlying message of GM CEO Mary Barra's move on Oct. 31 to offer voluntary buyouts to GM's North American salaried workers with 12 or more years of experience with the company. On the surface, it's typical cost-cutting ahead of a potential dip in new-car sales and rising raw material costs. But look closer. Consider that Barra hails from a human resources background, so targeting employees with long seniority and high pay grades is strategic when a company is moving toward the development of more electric cars, fuel cells and autonomous vehicles, experts say. It means redeploying the workforce and freeing up significant capital, said Marick Masters, professor of business at Wayne State University.