An Open Letter in Support of Massachusetts School Librarians

I don’t know if you are aware of the dire state of School Librarians across the 50 states. Unfortunately, we are a dying breed. School Librarians in Massachusetts are attempting to pass a bill which would create a Commission to study the state of School Librarians in the Commonwealth, in order to come up with solutions on how to solve the inequity of service. Below is the letter I sent to every representative I could think of in the state. If you live in Massachusetts, please send a letter to your state representatives seeking their support on this bill. Thanks for your help. If you don’t live in Massachusetts, contact your state School Librarian Association to see what you can do to help keep School Librarians in your neck of the woods.

I am a School Librarian in Boston. Due to the fact that the state of Massachusetts doesn’t monetarily support School Librarians, I have to work part time in two different high schools in order to have a full-time job. I was lucky to get these positions, as I was unemployed for over a year trying to find a job. The only School Librarian jobs I could find were out West in the Worcester, Harvard, Berkshires, etc. areas or on the Cape, none of which were even reasonably close to Weymouth.

Do you know schools use real estate taxes to help pay for “extras” like School Librarians because the state of Massachusetts doesn’t give the schools money for them? My middle class community of Weymouth can not afford elementary or middle school librarians on their income, so only have a high school librarian. The same issue is true in nearby neighborhoods of Abington, Braintree, Quincy and others. However, as one reaches the wealthier communities of Milton, Hingham, etc. who have more income in their homes, suddenly School Librarians are funded across the grades. This inequity of service is rampant in Massachusetts which I have dubbed “The State of the Have’s and Have-Nots.” This inequity does a disservice to students in lower and middle class communities whose parents can’t afford a tax base of real estate which could pay for School Librarians in their children’s schools.

We School Librarians are not only certified librarians, but certified teachers. We teach 21st Century Skills which help students negotiate their way through the immense amount of digital information, integrating our lessons with Common Core and State standards. We support teacher’s curriculums in our lessons and, of course, share our love of literature with children to build up a generation of readers. We are not your Grandmother’s Librarian.

My two high schools are made up of students who are mostly African American and Latino. They, along with thousands of students across the state from low and middle class communities, have been denied the services of a School Librarian due to lack of funding.

Please consider sponsoring bill HD4254 “An Act Creating a Special Commission on School Library Services in the Commonwealth.” This Commission will investigate the state of Massachusetts School Library Programs to gather data which will give Massachusetts a long-range plan for School Library services. This Commission will help give answers to what can be done to remove the “Have/Have Not’s” status currently in existence in Massachusetts when it comes to School Librarians.

I look forward to having your support.

Thank you for your help.

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