Last Thursday, Spokane Public Schools issued a notice to all school librarians that their positions were being eliminated beginning next school year, Spokane's Spokesman-Review reported.
More recent hires in the district will likely face lay offs this summer while more senior librarians are being placed into an involuntary transfer pool to be moved into the classroom.
The district plans to keep the libraries open, relying on teachers to effectively staff the library on top of existing duties and regardless of training or library experience. CBS affiliate KREM reports that the district is also considering utilizing part-time clerks to fulfill some library duties
While the district claims the elimination of school librarians will save the district money as they face a $31million deficit, it is unclear how much this move will actually move the district towards that goal.
While the district is touting the move as a shift to a "new model" of school libraries, it does not address studies that have shown a demonstrable achievement gap between students at schools with libraries versus those who don't. These studies further illustrate that the absence of a librarian is particularly harmful to African American students, Latinx students, and students with disabilities according to a report last year in the Phi Delta Kappan.