A Texas school district, Cypress-Fairbanks (a.k.a Cy-Fair or CFISD) cannot stay out of the headlines this year.

From banning the "controversial" subjects of vaccines and climate change from textbooks to being forced to close due to extreme weather (certainly not caused by climate change, right?), I have heard about this district for the first time in my life, several times this year.

Neither of those stories is the one that got my hackles up, as we've seen plenty of both in school districts across Texas and both topics have become, I'm ashamed to admit, blasé to me. What I found alarming was the mass de facto firing, via a late-night email, of many of the district's school librarians.


The bad etiquette and sheer cowardice of the email (which you can read here) are self-evident, especially coming from an institution that is supposed to teach Texas children how to function as proper adults. However, was the firing of the librarians a good idea amid Cy-Fair's huge budget deficit?

What do school librarians do?

Full disclosure, I worked as a staff member in a college library. My job was to source research materials like articles and books for faculty and students. I know I was an integral part of that institution, and my work helped fuel real-world innovations in fields as diverse as mechanical engineering, medicine, and even the preservation of the greater prairie chicken (I worked on that subject a lot.)

But do six year olds need help finding research to conduct experiments or write papers? Actually, yes. Because they will possibly one day be that graduate student or professor who improves the accuracy of weather models or becomes an expert on embryology.

Even if they don't attend college, we desperately need our children to learn information literacy. With the rise of AI and plenty of online scammery, we need to raise adults that can sort through piles of information to find what is accurate, truthful, and useful.

And that is exactly what a librarian does, regardless of what school or institution they work for.

Additionally, we need professionals who are trained to promote literacy in children. Literacy is not a one-size-fits-all solution for children, and is best when tailored to the individual, whether English is their second language, they have dyslexia/ another learning difference, or they have simply not found what they are interested in yet.

Will Cy-Fair be able to complete the mission of teaching children effectively with only 42 librarians for 88 schools? As a literate person, my educated guess is "No."

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