June 22, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

eva efron, Librarian and Advocate, Dies at 66

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.

Rocco Staino About Rocco Staino

Rocco Staino @RoccoA is the retired director of the Keefe Library of the North Salem School District in New York. He is now a contributing editor for School Library Journal and also writes for the Huffington Post.



  1. Ian Singer says:

    Thank you for this remembrance, Rocco. eva will always be a friend to me, on a personal level, and our school librarian community is “less” with her passing.

  2. Susan Ballard says:

    As the current AASL President, I had the opportunity to work with eva this past year. I admired her tenacity and truly appreciated her great passion for the work we do – she spent her time with us as an indefatigable force to help move the profession forward. She will be missed and I hope we will all strive to emulate her “can do” example.

  3. Nancy Zimmerman says:

    eva, you and your passion for school libraries will be greatly missed. It was a pleasure to work with you both in SLMS/NYLA and AASL. Rest in peace.

  4. Edie Jud says:

    eva was one of my professors at the Palmer School (@LIU’s CW Post campus). I remember her as very knowledgeable, totally approachable and extremely personable. I am terribly sorry to hear of her passing. She and her exuberance will be missed…

  5. The Mrs. Efron{eva} i knew was a the kidnest, sweetest person you’d ever meet.I was her former student in 7th,9th,10,11th grades, she was a woman who was for her students.
    When I had to discriber her to someone,it wasn’t hard to do”my height, dorothy hammil haircut, glasses, a smile to light a room up”Thats how I described her,she always took interest in her students and listened when we had a problem or felt we needed to talk.Eva had a love for Barry Manilow and got a kick out of the fact I ahd to sing it in chorus,When she decided to move to the high school when I was entering 8th grade, she saw I had a teacher i could connect with because she was as in her words”worried i wouldn’t be comfy”,I was perfectly fine, she worried to much.I would write her and she’d write me back, keep me posted on what was new, come to my concerts when i sang ,kept tabs on me being on the honor roll all year, you couldn’t hide anything from her.
    Then when i did enter High school in 9th grade, she was all to happy to have me by her side, she watched out for me, saw I had no problems, I couldn’t read music and she went to bat for me, I learned by ear, she saw I had child care in 11th grade and saw I had early release because I was working in 12th grade, she was so excite din 1984 when I was to meet wayne newton, she wanted to be with me,she made me a birthday cake for my 17th birthday and gave me june 8th off so i ahd teh day to get ready, she was worse then me with butterflies, she made me laugh, she hugged me when i needed a good cry, always stern when she had to be, always listened as well, she became a family friend as well,my motehr and eva were friends and when my motehr got sick eva was there for me,
    She gave me the love to read thanks to barrowing judy bloom books and writting,she would see my journals in 8th grade and get tickled when I’d write about her.The eva I kenw was a strong woman,I wish i had know she was sick so i could fo said goodbye to ehr and say teh most important things to her”eva, you were my mentor, your teh reason Iw ant to etach, you taught me it was ok to laugh at myself and fix a mistake then stand and cry about it, you taught me to cook,you taugh me to laugh harder, love mroe and never jduge”i will miss you with all my heart,love joanne popowick

    Ps, eva had left teh high school after i finished 11th grade, iw ould go see her and help with her class make a gingerbread house,hang paper in a window to display their fien work and share a good laugh, many time sshe call just to catch up,I loved her alot and there will be nobody liek ehr ever again.