November 2011 Issue
October 25, 2011

School librarian still searching for work

Author: Liza Frenette
Source: NYSUT United

"I still have not found a job. It's really not good," said Sari Grandstaff, high school librarian, who has been unemployed since June 2010 when her Saugerties school district eliminated her position due to lack of funding.

Grandstaff, in her search for work, said many school districts are not replacing librarians when they retire, especially at the elementary school level, where librarians are not mandated.

"They tell me hundreds of people apply for every one [position]," said Grandstaff, who was a member of the Saugerties TA. "I've just applied for everything."

This fall she is working at an eight-week substitute position in a high school library more than an hour away. With gas and tolls she is earning less than she does on unemployment, but Grandstaff wants to work and stay active in her field.

Things got even tighter this summer, when her husband, a Verizon worker, went on strike for two weeks. Many unions, including NYSUT, supported workers during the walkout.

Back in Saugerties, the one librarian left now covers both the junior high and high school, serving about 1,600 students.

Four elementary library positions were reduced to two, cutting elementary students' library time in half as well.