Stories from Deep in the Heart of Texas: Librarian Layoffs in Spring Branch ISD

Librarians lost the jobs they love, but students lost the most.

On Friday my wife’s job as a teacher-librarian was cut, meaning she will be out of a librarian job when her contract runs out prior to the next school year. Every other teacher-librarian in the district met the same fate.

Sign the Texas Freedom to Read Project petition to join the growing network of Texans fighting for the freedom to read, and against. book bans and censorship in our state. 

Everyone living in Spring Branch ISD got a vague email from the district with a small line item saying that the library department was being reduced and restructured along with counseling and athletics. What wasn’t shared clearly was that, while our schools will thankfully still have nearly as many counselors as they had before, no schools will have librarians.


I have seen people online saying that librarians still have jobs because they can be placed in a different position, but the truth is they lost their jobs, the ones they went to school for and trained for. Librarians will have the opportunity to placed in a new job they did not choose or may not have any interest in, and that job isn’t in a library.


Librarians are among the most highly qualified of educators. 

You need a Masters degree to be a librarian, so the people Spring Branch ISD let go are some of the most qualified educators in our district and I would hope the district would work to keep them. That clearly didn’t happen, so the bottom line is that librarians lost their jobs, they lost roles they love, and now have to leave the children and families they have worked tirelessly to serve every day.


My wife doesn’t like to be the center of attention or have nice things said about her, but she is the most dedicated educator I’ve ever seen and she shows me daily the impact librarians can make. She is a tireless advocate for all students and for the library program, so I want to do what I can to spread awareness of this horrible situation.


My wife has been in education for nearly 2 decades. She has been a teacher in the classroom, someone who supported teachers with their learning, someone who helped kids in small targeted groups, and a teacher-librarian.

When she finished her Masters of Library Science degree, I truly thought that this was a job that would be “easier” and have her working fewer hours. When I said as much, she looked at me like I was crazy and said, “my classroom just got a lot bigger.”


Since that day I have watched her transform 3 libraries in Spring Branch ISD- and I truly mean transform. She has spent the summers BEFORE she started at each school making the library look and feel like a magical place.


A parent once told me that it just feels different to be in a Dolan library, and that’s because my wife thinks through every detail about how students use the space, find books, get inspired by books, learn about robotics and STEM, and also considers every leadership opportunity she can provide to students.


She wants students to be readers for life and love books and love the people who create books. Teresa finds inspiration for student project ideas or lessons for students everywhere we go.


We will be walking along and she will stop to snap a picture because, “wouldn’t it cool if students go do mini research on the impact of xyz.”


Librarians make a difference.

She’ll talk to anyone and everyone if she thinks they can have a positive impact on her students.

She writes grants non-stop so that students have funding and reads insatiably so that she can help readers find the perfect book.

She supports every event at school and her students act like they’ve seen a rockstar when we encounter them at the grocery store.


Like the amazing dedicated educator she is, she works evenings and weekends, and I’m still waiting for that infamous “summer off” that I keep hearing teachers have.


Three years ago, Teresa felt called to support one of the schools in our neighborhood, which would mean leaving an almost endless support system at her previous school. She loved her school, the administration, teachers, and families, and she loved that they loved the library program. She wanted that for this new school as well. I wanted to support her, but wasn’t keen on her spending another summer working for free 8 hours a day to change the space before the first day of school, or moving the literal boxes of supplies and costumes, nor was I excited about the countless grants and fundraising opportunities I knew would be coming.


But I supported her move and she has gone on to make a bigger difference than I could’ve imagined.


Students in Spring Branch ISD lost the most.

It is these students who my wife is worried about.

It is for these students that she has already created a calendar so she can find a way “to squeeze as many amazing opportunities in until I’m gone.”

It is these students who will not have a qualified librarian who knows and loves them, and creates a place where they can learn and take on leadership roles in running much of the space with her guidance.


These students will lose Monday library art club, Tuesday/Thursday library manager meetings, Wednesday library ambassador meetings, Friday video game creation and robotics.

They will lose their Makerspace, rocket launching, wind tunnels, circuit things that I still don’t understand, and more.

They will miss being inspired to learn new authors and select new books by someone who knows the authors, books, and the students.


They will lose a gifted and talent teacher who believes in pushing them to tackle real problems and learn real world skills. They will lose someone who is always looking to grow and adapt to challenge and offer the best program she possibly can. They will lose the team of people who Teresa inspires to support her work and vision for the library.

Take Action: E-mail or deliver public comments to the SBISD School Board. Demand Texas legislators work to fully fund public education to address the massive budget deficits hitting our school districts. 

These students are losing so much and it is this fact that has been the hardest for my wife.

Librarians lost their jobs, the jobs they love and are beyond qualified to do, but students in Spring Branch ISD lost the most.


I am glad to see that counselors did not see much reduction because schools need them just as much as they need librarians, but I’m floored that this district made this choice.


My heart breaks for the students who won’t have the Dolan magic in their library.And I’m heartbroken for the librarians who lost the jobs they love.

Cody Dolan originally shared this story about the mass librarian lay offs in Spring Branch ISD, on his personal Facebook page. Cody generously agreed to allow Texas Freedom to Read Project to re-publish his story on our page. 

Employment Resource for Texas Librarians

If you're a Texas librarian looking for a job, the Texas Library Association has an active Jobline. You do not have to be a member to access the job postings. Find it here

Spring Branch ISD librarian lay offs librarians are magic