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Johal bids farewell to Branham, library

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Johal bids farewell to Branham, library

Elizabeth Posey, Art Director

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The news that Branham was eliminating the librarian position came as a shock to Kuldip Johal, the current librarian on campus.

Just a month ago, she was told by administration that Branham would no longer continue the existence of their school library. “I was told there was going to be a library and then this came up so it’s a shock,” Johal said. Principal Cheryl Lawton later clarified by expressing her hope that the district will eventually receive bond funding to build a media center.

For the remainder of the year, the library will reside in the Student Service Center, no longer in the college and career center.

Thursday was Johal’s last day working at Branham after 14 years service; she is to transfer within the district to Prospect to be a switch secretary for the rest of this school year and relocate to Del Mar in the fall semester of 2019. According to Johal, the school library at Del Mar “is supposed to go down in June,” making her position less secure.

After receiving the jarring news, Johal says she has come to accept her new path despite disappointment and worry for the outcome of her career and school libraries in general. “I think it’s kind of sad because it’s a place for kids to get together, study, and technology is there,” said Johal.

The National Center for Educational Statistics says that 90 percent of public schools have a library, putting Branham in the 10 percent minority. This abrupt transfer brings to light concern for the steady decline of analog school libraries.

With school librarians holding 51,516 of a total 143,100 American library positions, it is difficult to predict how these numbers might shift as technology takes the place of physical books. In fact, last year the library gave away its entire inventory to interested Branham students — the first harbinger of change in Branham’s library that is now to be converted into a more technology-based study area.

Johal stated that, depending on the point in her career, she would be interested in returning to Branham’s potential media center. Reflecting on her last 14 years, she had only positive words for students and faculty: “It’s been wonderful. I’ve really enjoyed the students here. I just have such a love for the students, really the whole environment, the staff. They’ve all been wonderful.”

Students and staff alike will appreciate her legacy at Branham for years to come.

“It’s been wonderful. I’ve really enjoyed the students here. I just have such a love for the students, really the whole environment, the staff. They’ve all been wonderful.”

— Kuldip Johal

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