Long Island (NY) school librarian and tirelesss school library advocate eva efron died March 20 at the Tuttle Center in Port Washington, NY, following a brief battle with pancreatic cancer. She was 66. At the time of her death, efron—who spelled her name in lower case—was a candidate for supervisor section representative to the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) executive board, and was serving as chair of the AASL supervisors section. She was also in her tenth year as school library services supervisor at the Nassau Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES) in Westbury, NY, where she headed its school library system, which coordinates library activities among the county’s 56 school districts and private schools.
“School libraries need to change,” efron wrote in her position statement for her recent AASL candidacy. “I believe school libraries are vital to education. Like the dinosaurs, we need to change to reflect our society, and the needs of our students.”
Says Sara Kelly Johns, AASL past president, “Her energy on behalf of school libraries was non-stop and non-relenting. Eva gave to ‘her’ librarians the tools they needed to be leaders in the school library profession.” Johns also recalls that efron never said “no” to a challenge if it meant learning more and sharing more with others, she tells School Library Journal.
Prior to Nassau BOCES, efron served as an assistant to the school library system director at Eastern Suffolk BOCES and was a high school librarian at Brentwood High School. From 1996 to 1998, she served as president of the New York Library Association’s section of school librarians and was a trustee of the Long Island Library Resources Council from 2004–2009.
Chris Harris of the Genesee Valley BOCES School Library System knew efron as a friend and colleague. “She was a mentor to whom I could turn for honest feedback, professional advice, and lively arguments about critical issues in school libraries,” he tells SLJ. “She often said our discussions could clear a room of those who didn’t understand the respect behind our arguments.”
Many of efron’s colleagues last spent time with her at the American Library Association’s midwinter meeting in Seattle in January. Efron was a constant presence at ALA events and a devotee of SLJ’s own annual library summit, having attended since its inception in 2005.
“Eva introduced me to ALA and the SLJ Summit with pride and a sense of community,” Judi Dzikowski, iSchool field site supervisor at Syracuse University, said in a statement read at efron’s memorial, which was held March 24 in Dix Hills, NY. “She mentored me as we navigated the events, the exhibits, the committees, workshops and all that goes on with energy and always having fun.”
A native of western New York, efron attended Amherst High School. She received her BA degree from New York State University at Stony Brook and her Masters of Library Science from Saint John’s University. She is survived by her daughter Dawn Landry; her grandson Marty Landry; her stepchildren David and Nancy Efron; and her father Hugo Kahn.