Musing Mondays: School Libraries

16 May

This week’s musing asks…

The local Catholic school board is closing its school libraries, and parents and teachers –and even the students– are in an uproar. Budget cuts demanded that the board choose something to get rid of… they choose libraries. As such, many librarians have lost their jobs. And, the board is moving the books to the classrooms, instead. They feel that it is a good solution.

What do you think? Should the schools be without an actual “library” room? Is this a good solution?

I am so thankful that my school has never had to make cuts to our library program! I believe a school library is an invaluable tool in a student’s education. While the texts taught in a school curriculum are certainly important to the academic development of students, I believe self-selected books play an equally pivotal role in a child’s literary growth. Students must be given the opportunity to read for pleasure. As a teacher, I have seen reluctant readers develop an insatiable appetite for literature when they discover that one book that appeals to their interests. Many times, the book that creates a love for reading within a student is NOT a book assigned by a teacher.

While classroom libraries can certainly provide a place where students can check-out books based on their interests, libraries created by teachers are often limited. Teachers must often stock their classroom libraries with books purchased with their own money whereas a school library is given funding by the school district. In addition, classroom libraries typically feature novels that appeal to students. In my own classroom library, certain titles are battered and dog-eared – proof that they are loved by my students. While it is important for teachers to provide high-interest novels for their students’ enjoyment, classroom libraries usually feature a notable lack of nonfiction. Each year, I am surprised by the number of students who do NOT know how to use a library for research purposes. Although the internet has certainly made research easier and more accessible, I think it is still important for students to know how to use the reference materials provided by a library.

A library is more than simply a room in which to collect books. It is a place where imaginations soar and knowledge is unlocked. Getting rid of school libraries would be devastating to students and teachers alike.

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4 Responses to “Musing Mondays: School Libraries”

  1. caite@a lovely shore breeze May 16, 2011 at 3:43 pm #

    In Catholic schools, especially urban Catholic schools, it comes down to money. Remember, they are NOT getting tax dollars but are largely self supporting. Should they raise tuition and price many out? Cut always low teacher, much lower than public school, salaries? It is a terrible choice..but sometimes terrible choices have to be made.

  2. salmeida May 16, 2011 at 3:58 pm #

    Thanks for reminding me of that point, Caite! I teach at a charter school, so I often forget about the situation in private schools. The school board faces a very difficult decision in this situation. I probably should have started my response with “In an ideal world …” While I understand the financial factors that necessitate a decision like this, it still makes me sad to see school libraries disappear.

  3. therrreader May 16, 2011 at 8:12 pm #

    Money, money, money! Ugh!

    School libraries are HIGHLY important to the development of several habilities a child can only get through reading. It’s also an invironment every kid should be a part of. But as Salmeida said “In an ideal world”…

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