WASHINGTON – When summer break ends, thousands of D.C students will return to schools that do not have librarians.
Making a “tough budget choice,” D.C. Public Schools decided to eliminate funding for librarians at schools with enrollments of fewer than 300 students.
“Our libraries will remain open at our schools and we’ll use creative solutions through community partnerships to help staff the libraries,” a statement from the school system reads.
That wasn’t sufficient for parents who rallied in front of the mayor’s office Wednesday. They brought with them home-baked treats and free books to give away.
“If we lose our librarians – which is happening now – we will have students who will not have access to the tools they need to foster a love of learning and to become truly educated,” says Bella Dinh-Zarr.
“Without librarians, we can’t have a truly educated student body,” she says.
The decision to eliminate the allocation for a librarian at smaller schools affects nearly 60 campuses. Protesters say about 16,000 students will get shortchanged on their educations.
“Our budget process does allow for principals ultimately to make the choice about whether or not to use flexible funding to budget for a librarian in partnership with their school communities, and several principals elected to take that route,” according to D.C. Public Schools.
Pavanaja Komma is a school librarian who lost her job for a second time.
“In the school, the library is a kind of hub for all the knowledge. If you’re getting rid of the librarians, who is going to teach them the 21st century learning skills?”