Foreword ix each library a core collection of books and a county budget based on each school’s population. I was given $1,800 to spend for 1,626 students. I used the funds to purchase books based on student interest, but I noticed chal- lenges with finding books of interest from the approved district vendor list (publishing companies). Despite the challenges, I noticed an immediate increase in circulation from books I was able to purchase. I never did an official diversity audit of the collection, but I did an assessment based on student interest. After my first year working at the school, the leadership changed. The school gained a new principal, and she had different view- points on the library based on her experience from former schools she man- aged. To the leadership team, open access meant students skipping class, too much leisure, and disruptions in the hallways. This viewpoint was challeng- ing for me because I spent a few months training at an affluent high school in Charlotte, which had trusting open-access policies for their students, who behaved no differently. I unfortunately had to close the library doors for a six-month period because of assumed behavioral issues. The school leadership did not see the importance of students having access because their assumption was that students did not take the library seriously. Instead, the principal found other tasks for me, like assisting with the launch of new photo identification cards for students and assisting with ACT prep. The library became a holding space for make-up testing and professional development for teachers. I had to strategically advocate for students with data by showing the disparities of library access and staffing among affluent majority white vs. Black schools in the Charlotte area. Through my research, I found that students who attended affluent and private schools had open-access visitation policies and four or more librarians staffed for one school. I showed the difference in circulation statistics, accessibility, and additional funding opportunities from the parent-teacher association (PTA) boards. In 2015, a fellow librarian colleague in the same district received an unre- stricted $50,000 donation from her affluent school’s PTA committee. This was a surplus of funding in addition to her district book allocation received by the county. The librarian was given an opportunity to purchase new books, databases, and technology for an affluent population of students. I highlighted research from Deborah Lang Forggatt, who found that equita- ble access to school libraries develops literate, self-directed, lifelong learners who develop the social capital to make informed decisions and purposefully act upon them.3 I often talked to school leaders about the Keith Curry Lance 2013 School Library Impact Study, which found that students who are poor, students in the minority, and students with disabilities who have full-time librarians are at least twice as likely to have “Advanced” writing scores than their counterparts without full-time librarians.4 Through consistent advocacy, I was able overturn the decision, but my students still had limited accessibility. As I said at the beginning, I share
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