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Douglas County Decides Not To Cut Librarians

Douglas County School District Decides Not To Cut Librarian Jobs

By: Alyssa Wingo

School librarians around Lawrence are taking a sigh of relief after the Douglas County School District decided to keep a majority of their positions amid large budget cuts taking place. 

Free State High School librarian Marisa Hegeman said she was shocked to learn last Wednesday that the district planned to cut twelve out the eighteen total librarian positions. 

However, after pushback and a rally in support of the librarians, a counter-proposal was accepted by the district at a meeting Monday. This proposal will allow the district to retain sixteen librarian positions. Hegeman said this was the best scenario they could have asked for. 

“This really seemed like a horrible time to say ‘let’s get rid of the expert in the school on reviewing resources and finding credible sources,’ ” Hegeman said.

The district had also originally planned to replace the librarians who were cut with library media assistants, which Hegeman said are not adequately trained for the role.

“So, that was really unfair, mindblowing, to ask classified employees to take on that much responsibility at that low of pay without the qualifications,” she said.

Hegeman was thankful for all the community support and advocacy at Monday’s rally.

“I definitely think, as a nerdy librarian, that knowledge is power. And so, once the community understood what was at risk, I think that was a huge part of why libraries were saved,” she said. “And, we had a lot of advocates – both colleagues and students and community members rally around us.”

Hegeman said she hopes there will be more transparency and support for librarians from the district going forward.