The Last Page Turns: Good-bye to the heartbeat of our schools

A poem by Jennalane Ziegler, a Texas School Librarian.

Today…due to budget cuts...Librarians were eliminated.

Today…33,545 students lost.

They lost someone who gets them excited about reading. Someone who guides them to a story or the information that they need. Someone who teaches them to research. Someone who will tutor them and help them understand.

They lost a safe place. An adult on campus with whom no grades are attached. An adult who can be a listening ear. An adult who makes the library a warm and inviting place. Someone who arrives early to open the library when it is cold outside or who stays late for after school activities.

They lost someone who will collaborate with teachers to make learning an experience. Who will encourage teachers when they are tired. Who will be there for their teachers with support and a helping hand.

They lost a leader today. Someone who helps throughout the school to make it a better place. Someone who supports admin.

They lost someone who loves to teach them about life and someone who gives them valuable skills that they can take with them…like sewing or 3d printing in the MakerSpace or help with writing a resume or writing a college essay or navigating a difficult relationship with a teacher or picking out a book to read or doing an art activity at lunch or someone who will help them practice speaking English.

They lost a club sponsor. Someone who is willing to stay after school while they meet up for extra curricular fun.

They lost someone who keeps track of the book collection and who researches what are the next books in the series and when they will be released. Do we have a collection that matches our population? Do we have enough books for the English Language Learners? Do we have enough books for the high achieving students so that they will be challenged? Do we have books that are so well loved that they need repaired? Do we have relevant non-fiction? Do students know how to find books in the library?

They lost someone who will do story time and make the funny voices as they read.

They lost someone who helps plan amazing events for the school to get the community involved. Someone who leads Battle of the Books and organizes Read Across America.

They lost someone who will show up to watch their sporting events, their theatre, band, choir, or orchestra performances.

They lost someone who plans reading promotions with prizes to inspire them to read more and get them talking about what they read.

They lost someone who encourages them to talk to new people and explore new ideas or learn a new game or join a club.

Today Librarians lost their jobs, they shed tears for other people’s kids, for kids whom they loved like their own, they mourn this loss because they know the value that they bring to the community…

but 33,545 students lost so much more.

About the Author

Jennalee Ziegler is a passionate educator with 11 years experience in education, 4 years as a History teacher and 7 years as a teacher librarian. She has a Masters in Education and a Masters in Library and Information Science. During COVID, when Houston ISD went hybrid, she taught classes and ran the library. That year she won teacher of the year for her campus. She has worked as a librarian for two years at Spring Woods High School. On February 16, 2024, her job as librarian in Spring Branch ISD was eliminated. This is what she wrote.

This poem was originally published on Jennalee Ziegler's personal Facebook profile, and is re-published on this site with permission. 

Find & connect with Ms. Ziegler on her socials

Instagram & Tik Tok: @timemachineteacher
X/Twitter: @msjziegler

Read more about Librarian Lay Offs in Spring Branch

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

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