and received a 2017 Service Award.
The Patrick Ness quotation above became part of my school email signature in 2015, the year all the district’s middle school libraries were closed and all the certified elementary librarian positions were eliminated, and it was still there the next year when the district cut the remaining two certified librarians along with the K-12 coordinator of library and media services.
Like so many districts that rely heavily on state and federal funds, Brockton Public Schools was suffering multi-million dollar losses of education funding in a lean and increasingly competitive fiscal environment for urban public schools. Because there are no mandates for school libraries or librarians in Massachusetts, we were an easy cut to make. However, because what we do contributes to student learning in so many ways, whenever I saw an opportunity to advocate and shout for school libraries and librarians during that time period, I took advantage of it.
I was deeply honored to receive a 2017 MSLA Service Award for the work I did in response to all those cuts, and would like to take this opportunity to share some of the advocacy I undertook during that time period and beyond. We will need to continue to fight for library programming for all students, especially now while there’s a push towards more school privatization and deep austerity budgets for low-income school districts. We can all contribute to this fight for equitable access to school library programs, both within our own districts and on behalf of students in districts where there are no librarians left to fight for them.