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Two More School Librarians Recognized
as Teachers of the Year

Even as Position is Valued by Colleagues, Districts Cut Staffing and Funding

RHODE ISLAND - OCTOBER 27, 2015 - Two more school librarians were named 2015 Teacher of the Year in their districts; Suzanne Lynch of Stony Lane and Forest Park Elementary Schools in North Kingstown and Beth Gorter of Hanaford Elementary in East Greenwich join Joan Mouradjian of Narragansett Middle School in Narragansett and Jennifer Robinson of Thompson Middle School in Newport as honorees this year. In 2014, three other school librarians received the honor. Ironically, four of these seven districts have cut library staffing and/or funding for the current school year:

  • Coventry: As the district moves to Chromebooks, librarians are being given tech duties, reducing time to teach students library skills. There is no book budget - at the Feinstein Middle School, 2014 Teacher of the Year Susan Murphy’s budget has gone from $7,500 to $0 in just a few years.
  • East Greenwich: While positions were spared this year after being on the chopping block, budgets were obliterated. 2015 Teacher of the Year Beth Gorter’s Hanaford Elementary went from $3,000 for collection development last year to $0.
  • Newport: 2015 Teacher of the Year Jennifer Robinson has gone from having a half-time assistant librarian and full-time clerk two years ago to being a solo practitioner.
  • North Kingstown: Many positions have been chiseled away for the past several years; this year, the Davisville Middle School position was cut from full-time to .6.

“The fact that 7 out of 36 districts have recognized the work done by school librarians as educators shows that fellow teachers appreciate the value the position - and the highly trained professionals who fill it - brings to both their students and their colleagues,” says Sarah Hunicke of Portsmouth High School, president of School Librarians of Rhode Island (SLRI). “Unfortunately, some school committees see the library department as dispensable. But  research has shown a correlation between school library programs and student achievement. When a school district thinks that cutting certified school librarians is an easy way to save money, they may actually end up costing themselves more in the long run."

About SLRI - www.slri.info - @SchLibRI

The purpose of School Librarians of Rhode Island shall be to (1) promote the improvement of instruction through opportunities that broaden the professional knowledge, understanding, and experience of its members; (2) provide leadership in defining, interpreting, and promoting effective library media programs to the community; and (3) serve as facilitator between the State Department of Education, Office of Library and Information Services, professional organizations, and the general public.




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