Lincoln Library Update: I’ve Been Had, Says the District

[Update 2: If you’ve come back to this article and the update looks a bit different it’s because I’ve tinkered with it a bit based on information that continues to come to me. IOW, I’m still working to bring you an accurate picture of the situation. Feel free to contact me about it at any current e-mail you have for me or at:]

Update: I went to the Lincoln PTA meeting last night, but instead of finding out what I could do to help Lincoln save its library, I found out instead that despite appearances, the Lincoln PTA leadership had nothing to do with the letter sent to the parents. Furthermore, we were told that the District is NOT at this time imposing such a plan on the school. I apologize for being a trusting sap and promise to be more suspicious in future. 🙂

According to principal Christy Meyer, a group of parents had taken a piece of information from a brainstorming session; she implied that they over-reacted. A school committee called the Building Leadership Team (BLT), which is charged with seeking ways to meet District academic goals, is currently having a shot at investigating the possibilities for Lincoln to move to an all-day kindergarten. Both the District and Lincoln support this goal because of the possibilities for early intervention. The ideas included in my article arose from a good old-fashioned brainstorming session in which any and all ideas are tossed out and listed without comment, and saved for evaluation on another day. The evaluation step, according to Meyer, has not yet occurred.

That’s not to say that the District doesn’t or won’t impose changes on the school; indeed, they co-opted the former music room for the Bridges program last year. [I imagine the brainstorming went something like this: “Well, we now have art on a cart and music on a cart, so why not library on a cart?”] But, really, IMO we need to see how the building repurposing and attendant redistricting shakes out first.

What I didn’t fully realize until now was how much Lincoln’s short-term future was affected by the passing of the referendum. Lincoln was scheduled for an addition with groundbreaking this month, but that plan is halted to see what the Facilities Planning Committee comes up with. An idea for a mobile library is also off the table for the moment. The always-tasty irony here is that I would have attended the FPC meeting if the Lincoln Library situation hadn’t seemed so urgent. Geez, and now I’m on Mac’s bad side. Thanks a lot.

The following is the original article, a few aspects of it either wrong or disputed at this time:

School District 428 wants to start all-day kindergarten at Lincoln Elementary but there is no classroom available for them. One idea is to move all the books in the Lincoln Library out onto carts in the hallway. They alternatively suggest that a library of sorts be set up in the gym once a week and put the gym teachers in the classroom, or to split up the collection and spread the books among all the classrooms. ANY of these ideas would limit the children’s access in some way (and have they BEEN in a Lincoln classroom lately?).

This will not happen if the Lincoln PTA has any say. The PTA reportedly has put about $10,000 into the library in the past eight years. It is a first-rate although somewhat crowded space that is used not just to hold books but also hosts a tiny media center, study groups, tutoring, band club, school events and even a makeshift TV studio where students take turns airing morning announcements. A letter from concerned parents notes:

We are proud of the Lincoln School Library. Lincoln has the largest selection of books and AR (Accelerated Reader) titles in the district…Lincoln does not have a music room, an art room, a lunch room separate from the gym, a decent sized gym to accommodate upper grades, or a media center (does 6 computers in a corner qualify?) We DO HAVE a wonderful LIBRARY. All day kindergarten is an important goal, but not at the expense of our library. Now is not the time. We need to work through the effects of the referendum and not lose our library in the process.

If you have an opinion on this please contact the following administrators:

Christy Meyer, Lincoln School Principal
Becky McCabe, Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum & Instruction
Russ Fletcher, School/Community Relations Liaison

Full disclosure: I am a Lincoln parent and a Lincoln Library volunteer.