Eugene Schools Hiring Librarians Again

I enjoyed reading your Winter Reading (Dec. 1) issue, especially “Not Just Books: Will O’Hearn Sees The City’s Library Providing Help and a Mecca for All Books” by Elizabeth Sotelo. I am pleased to add three more names of local librarians recently hired by our Eugene 4J School District: Debbie Pfieffer at Howard Elementary School, Robbie Cortez at Holt and Martha Dyer at Chavez.

The 4J school board voted unanimously, 7-0, Nov. 16 on board member Gordon Lafer’s motion to use ESSR (federal COVID relief) funds to hire them as a pilot to begin rehiring more school librarians back into our elementary and middle schools.

When I taught at Adams Elementary School and Monroe Middle School, we always had a school librarian who was instrumental in the school’s mission to teach students not only how to read but to love reading. Due to the passage of Ballot Measure 5 in 1990, which restricted local property taxes, our public schools lost much funding and librarians got cut. As the decades passed, other funding priorities won out, including hiring testing coordinators in each school. As late as last year only our four high schools had full-time librarians — none at all in our elementary and middle schools.

Thanks to the 4J school board and Superintendent Andy Dey for beginning to reverse this trend. Our kids need school librarians.

Larry Lewin