Monday, August 18, 2014

CWC Mar Vista Library: segregated and elite

Today, I was alerted to an Indie Go Go crowd source fund raising page for CWC Mar Vista's new Library. It all sounds pretty, well...unbelievable. They have created a "list of great quality pleasure reading books" that is a "golden list" of books that can "smooth transitions and soothe psychologies," as such "It is a fantastic list of books." It's almost like they've invented a brand new wheel....simply unbelievable! (In the spirit of community and the best education for all, they might want to share this magical bibliography so that all public schools can benefit from CWC's wisdom.) ...and to top it all off, the library will have "professional library catalog software that is used for university libraries." I'm sure this will come in handy when the students are writing their Kindergarten thesis.
    This sounds great and kudos to them for making a library for their school, but then this reminded me of one of the more personally offensive aspects of the Citizens of the World Charter Mar Vista co-location at Stoner Avenue Elementary School: the CWC Mar Vista segregated library.   
    In my normal life, when I'm not writing this blog, I am a professional librarian, a law librarian to be exact.
   Early in the school year, when I learned about the separate library for CWC, I was crushed. The co-location was still new and I knew nothing about CWC, but I knew that having a library for a select group of students on campus is the antithesis of what a grade school library should be about.
   By law, one of the conditions of charter school co-locations is that the charter is entitled to use campus resources, such as the auditorium, cafeteria and library
    While CWC was co-locating at Stoner, they opted not to use the Stoner Library for their students (but would still use the library for meetings) and instead created their own private library that was for their students only. Why? Having a separate library is a disservice to both their own community and the Stoner community: it denies both school's students access to library resources right on their own campus and at the same time creates separate and thus unequal conditions on campus.
CWC Mar Vista Library: segregated and elite     I complained about the private library, and was told that while Stoner was required by law to share its library with CWC, CWC did not have to share their library with Stoner if they chose not to. It's one thing that CWC chose not to use the Stoner Library out of their own volition; but it's a completely different situation that Stoner was not even given a choice.
     I found it sad that CWC could not see the separate and unequal conditions they were bringing to campus by creating their own private library. A separate library for only their community speaks volumes* about how these worldly citizens were not good citizens of the Stoner ES campus.

*Sorry, I couldn't resist the library pun.

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