OPINION: Reduction of a Librarian at Hingham Middle School

March 19, 2024 By Tracy Blake

Dear Members of the School Committee,

I am writing to express my profound shock and dissatisfaction regarding the recent decision to eliminate my librarian position at Hingham Middle School. As a dedicated librarian and a long-time resident of Hingham since 1986, I am deeply invested in the academic success and well-being of our students. The town of Hingham is renowned for its high academic standards, and it is disheartening to see a crucial resource like the school library jeopardized.

One of the primary reasons for my concern is the elimination of the Media Literacy class, which I have developed and taught to all 6th graders. In today’s digital age, where students are bombarded with information from various sources, the ability to critically analyze media is more vital than ever. Social media platforms often serve as primary sources of news for many students, and without proper guidance, they may struggle to discern reliable information from misinformation or propaganda.

My curriculum for the Media Literacy class is designed to equip students with essential skills to navigate the digital landscape responsibly. Through this class, students learn how to evaluate the credibility of sources, recognize bias, identify propaganda techniques, and understand the ethical implications of media consumption. By eliminating the librarian position, not only are we depriving students of access to valuable resources, but we are also neglecting their need for media literacy education, which is essential for informed citizenship and critical thinking.

Furthermore, as a full-time librarian serving a middle school with 870 students, I play a crucial role beyond teaching Media Literacy. I collaborate with teachers to support the integration of information literacy skills into the curriculum, provide personalized reading recommendations to students, manage and curate the library collection to meet diverse learning needs, and foster a culture of reading and inquiry within the school community.

Another vital aspect of my role is assisting all history classes with research projects throughout the year. These projects often span approximately seven weeks of full-day classes in the library. During these sessions, I provide guidance on research methodologies, assist students in accessing and evaluating sources, and facilitate discussions on historical inquiry and interpretation. By working closely with history teachers, I ensure that students develop the necessary skills to conduct thorough and meaningful research, enhancing their understanding of historical events and concepts.

The decision to eliminate my position undermines the educational opportunities and support available to our students. Without a full-time librarian, students may lack access to guidance, resources, and instruction essential for their academic and personal growth. As stakeholders in the education of our children, we have a responsibility to prioritize their needs and provide them with the tools they need to succeed.

In light of the critical role that librarians play in promoting media literacy, supporting student learning, and facilitating research projects, I urge the School Committee to reconsider the decision to eliminate the librarian position at Hingham Middle School. Our students deserve access to a full-time librarian who can provide them with the necessary guidance, resources, and instruction to thrive in today’s information-rich society.

Thank you for your attention to this matter. I am available to discuss further the importance of maintaining a full-time librarian position at Hingham Middle School and to provide any additional information or support needed to address this issue.

Tracy Blake

7 thoughts on “OPINION: Reduction of a Librarian at Hingham Middle School”

  1. Tracy Blake is fantastic and plays a critical role in teaching all students the research process and preparing them to be successful in high school and beyond. I am incredibly disappointed that Hingham schools would even consider this as an option.

  2. Tracy makes excellent points! Here’s another: the ripple effects of this short-sighted decision impact the entire school district, not just the middle school. I am the librarian at Foster Elementary School. Although I have worked at this school in varying capacities for 12 years and have received only excellent evaluations, I am junior to the middle school librarian, and it is MY employment that has been terminated–not by half, as the School Committee authorized, but entirely. And that makes TWO schools without full time librarians. Shameful.

  3. I am a recently retired Adult Services Librarian with over 40 years of public library service on the South Shore.The Opinion clearly stated the need for a Librarian at the Hingham Middle School. Past attempts to save money during financial budget restraints by eliminating library services in schools and the public arena have always ended in failure.The students, our future tax payers and leaders, should not be denied the necessary tools to succeed.

    Please reconsider this budget decision.

  4. Tremendous letter. It clearly states the value of this position, especially when a “dumbing down” of citizens is ever-increasing, while news and facts are defined by soundbites and number of hits.

    Had the School Committee heard this spirited defense of the position before they made their cut in the budget?


Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.