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My husband graduated with his Masters in Library Sciences last August and started working as an elementary school librarian immediately after that for the 2010-2011 school year.  Since he had to switch school districts to find a librarian position, he went from being a teacher with a continual contract to being a teacher with a probationary 1 year contract again. 

But he has been amazing.  He was so good for his school in this past year that he received “Exceeded Expectations” in every single category of the annual review.  That is the absolute best evaluation a teacher can receive!

Despite that, his school district has decided that since they had to “displace” (lay off) librarians in other schools due to budget cuts, those displaced librarians that had continual contract status are being given the positions currently filled by probationary librarians like my husband. 

In short, they are playing musical chairs with people’s lives.

My husband’s principal actively argued to keep him and I wrote the following letter (names have been changed but that’s it):

Dear Dr. Superintendent,

I am writing you today to get a fair ending to a very happy story. 

My husband, who doesn’t know I am writing this letter, started as the ABC School Librarian at the beginning of this school year.  The library was a mess.  The previous librarian must have seen the writing on the wall since she stopped shelving the books.  She just tossed them into random sections. 

Please imagine a small room filled with more than 6000 books that are in no order whatsoever.  That is what my husband spent a month cleaning up.  His parents and I even volunteered for 2-3 days towards the end of the summer just to ensure the library would be ready by the beginning of the year.

Then imagine finding out that the previous librarian had stopped doing book fairs.  Parents didn’t even expect one.  Some of the students had never experienced the fun of circling their favorite books in one of those crisp Scholastic flyers.  My husband pulled off not one, but two AMAZING Scholastic book fairs during open houses and family reading week.  He earned ABC Elementary more than $3000 in books and materials.  I also volunteered more than 10 hours of my own time to both of those events.

Throughout reorganizing the entire library and planning book fairs, my husband also supported the other departments with their projects such as the science night he just recently stayed late for.  If you speak to any of the teachers at ABC, they can vouch for his supportiveness.

Finally, imagine being told that the new building will need more than 10,000 new books despite the fact that it doesn’t have enough shelf space.  My husband has stayed up until midnight every night for the past two weeks trying to find the perfect 10,000 books for his kids.  He and his grandfather have even talked about building more shelves for the new space.

That man, Mr. BFS, is now being forced out of this library that he rescued.  I empathize with the librarians who lost their positions, but my husband and his family, including me, rescued the ABC Elementary School Library.  There would be no open position at ABC if my husband hadn’t put in hundreds of his own, unpaid hours into it to ensure the children had the resources they will need to expand their minds. 

I would love to be more humble, but I just cannot afford to let anybody overlook his contributions right now.

Yesterday evening, he was still at our home computer at 11:00pm picking out the remaining 500 books for next year.  When I callously said, “You should just pick 500 random books and be done with it.  Why does it matter anymore?”, this very amazing man replied,

“That would only hurt the kids.  This isn’t their fault – it has nothing to do with them.  These are their books for the years to come.”

That is an employee you want to keep.  That is an employee that I believe that you are very lucky to have.  That is the man that brings tears to my eyes because he is such an amazing person and I am so lucky to have found him.

Please allow me to continue to be a volunteer for your school district.  Please allow my husband to continue in the position that he loves and to work with all of the people he has supported for the past school year.  Please let this heroic story have the happy ending it deserves.

Sincerely,
Crystal

I emailed that to the superintendent, another district administrator, and my husband’s principal.  I only heard back from his principal.  She told me that it was an amazing letter, but that the district was holding firm.  At this point, my husband will need a miracle to keep his current position as the school’s librarian.  His contract ends at the end of this semester.  His school has even been told who will be taking his place already. 

The only bright side to any of this is that his principal likes him so much that even if he can’t find a new librarian job by the end of the summer, she has guaranteed him a teaching spot in her school.  He’d be back to teaching science. 

But I know he doesn’t want to teach again.  He worked incredibly hard to fit a 2 year graduate program into 15 months just so he could become a librarian as soon as humanly possible.  So he is applying for jobs like mad and is in the market once again.

This whole situation is severely testing my generally positive outlook on life.  Between my stolen cell phone and this, last week completely sucked eggs.  I know I should feel consoled by the fact that he is at least guaranteed to have a job, but I still cannot stop thinking about how unfair this whole situation truly is.

So yes, I am thankful that we have each other.  I am thankful he will be employed.  BUT, I am NOT thankful that my husband worked his butt off for a school district that used him and tossed him away like yesterday’s newspaper.

How has the economy affected you and yours?  Want to vent?  It’ll help me feel less like a whiny baby…