Support SC School Librarians – Sign Today
To: South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster, Senate President Thomas Alexander, House Speaker Murrell Smith, Senate Education Chair Greg Hembree, House Education Chair Shannon Erickson, Education Superintendent Ellen Weaver
We, the undersigned, wish to express our deep support for school librarians and the South Carolina Association of School Librarians (SCASL). We see Superintendent of Education Ellen Weaver’s decision to sever ties between the SC Department of Education and SCASL for the politically motivated stunt that it is. These political games have very real consequences.
This decision is motivated by politics, not the best interest of students.
Across the country, we have seen an increase in efforts to ban books, and librarians have been standing guard for the intellectual freedom of their students and colleagues. Book banners have circumvented the established process for challenging books and sought to ban books for all kids, instead of exempting their own children from reading them. Book banners have shown no respect for due process, and because of their efforts a small but vocal group is supplanting the rights of the many.
In response to librarians’ commitment to intellectual freedom in the face of book banning, political interest groups including the State Freedom Caucus Network have attacked them.
Superintendent Weaver could have spoken out against such harmful disrespect aimed toward a critical profession. Instead, she has chosen to align her department with extreme organizations that aim to restrict what our students learn about themselves, their peers, and their history.
This decision will harm librarians and all educators.
The severing of a 50-year productive relationship between the Department of Education and school librarians’ main professional advocacy organization sends a message to librarians: their voices are not wanted, individually or collectively. Instead of working to find common ground with SCASL, the Superintendent has disregarded the expertise of librarians. Moreover, this decision will keep librarians from growing their expertise because the Superintendent’s decision effectively cancels longstanding, librarian-developed professional development events that have been cohosted for years by the state and SCASL.
South Carolina is experiencing an extreme educator shortage, and we can ill afford to chase away more teachers and librarians. Lack of respect for educators was the third most common concern heard at Teacher Recruitment and Retention Task Force hearings, and instances of librarian harassment – in no small part due to misinformed political rhetoric – have skyrocketed.
This decision will harm students.
We can all agree that students do better when their parents are involved in their education. Parents have the right to be involved, and they should be encouraged to get involved. While every parent has the right to decide what’s appropriate for their child, one parent does not have the right to decide what’s appropriate for all children. That’s why we trust that role to trained educators and librarians. This decision by Superintendent Weaver denies students the expertise of librarians.
We're speaking up in support of librarians and the SCASL.
Across the state and across the political spectrum, South Carolinians believe librarians – and all educators – should be treated with respect. We believe students have the right to learn and read free from politically motivated censorship. We believe this decision by Superintendent Weaver is wrong and dangerous.
We stand with librarians.