D.C. Public School librarians funding cut at some campuses

Photo: Mr. T in D.C.

The ever-present face of a school librarian may soon disappear for thousands of schoolchildren in the District of Columbia.

Under a new D.C. Public Schools policy, schools with fewer than 300 students will lose their funding to pay for a librarian on campus. Those with more than that number of students will keep the funding, but they're not compelled to hire one.

One of the librarians that was deemed non-essential was Simone Woodard, the librarian at Taylor Elementary School in Northeast, who spent a lot of her time holding story hour for young students and test preparation for the older ones.

"They let us go...they excised us," Woodard said. "It's unfair."

However, within 24 hours, outraged parents and grandparents were already gathering signatures in support of the librarians.

"It says to me that (D.C. Public Schools Chancellor) Kaya Henderson does not believe in school libraries, and if she did, she'd put her money where her mouth is," Watkins Elementary School parent Laura Marks said.

Parents also say that they've learned that the policy will extend to Eastern High School - the so-called "pride of Capitol Hill" - which had no librarian this year and doesn't have plans for one next year.

Henderson's office has not returned calls from ABC 7 on the issue. In the meantime, some parents say they plan to take their protest to the streets with a rally outside City Hall on Wednesday to call on Mayor Vincent Gray to save the libraries.