Thursday, May 7, 2009

Children's Services is vanishing from UCLA GSEIS

With a one-two punch, UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies ("library school" to us dinosaurs) has undergone some painful hits.

First off, Dr. Virginia Walter, a strong advocate of children's services and the only tenured faculty member who taught children's services classes, retired last year.  She had single-handedly transformed this library school into a breeding ground for excellent new children's librarians - and made it her mission to "convert" as many library students as possible to a career in youth services.  Her retirement was well-deserved, but it is a huge blow for current and future students interested in youth services and public libraries.

Then - oh the horror - the recession hit hard.  All the UCs have had major cuts, and what this has meant for UCLA GSEIS is that not only is there no money to replace Dr. Walter with another strong youth services-oriented professor, but there is also no money for adjunct lecturers.  While the department was able to hire adjuncts (including me) in 08/09 to teach YA Literature, Children's Literature, and Children's Services classes, there will be no youth services classes offered in 09/10.

No youth services classes at all for future children's and YA librarians to take in 09/10.

If I were considering library school, I wouldn't choose UCLA at this point.  It's such a shame.  Perhaps money will be scraped together or found under a rock - but it had better happen soon, or my alma mater will become known as the anti-public library school.


  1. I'll be honest... part of my decision not to attend UCLA was because I was fearful of just such a scenario as this. Sad!

  2. As a class of 2006 alum and a current Youth Services librarian who had Dr. Walter as my advisor... this is such an utter shame! The general information science courses I took there were only ho-hum, but the classes taught by Virginia Walter, Elaine Meyers, Michael Cart, and (yes, you) Eva Mitnick were the ones I got concrete, practical learning from. That this current year's students will be without these learning opportunities is just dreadful. I hope the students will at least continue the Reach Out and Read Aloud volunteer project and the ALA / YALSA student organizations.

  3. Luckily, some strong folks at GSEIS, especially Anne Gilliland, have been working hard to make sure youth services will be represented at GSEIS - at least if there are funds. So hopefully all is not lost. Plus the YACS board this coming year is composed of very enthusiastic advocates. We shall see...