The school library is an important, yet often overlooked, aspect of the educational experience. Access to public libraries is dwindling and the direct purchase of books is becoming unaffordable for many families. As a result, an increasing number of students and parents are relying on school libraries to provide reading material, resources, and the support necessary for students to excel both in the classroom and in life.
Benefits of school libraries:
• Students have convenient access to a variety of books within their own school system.
• May provide the only access to books for students if the public library has closed or parents have limited income for purchasing reading materials.
• Provides a place for students to study at school.
• May offer after school activities.
• Helps instill the benefits of reading in students.
Benefits of reading:
According to Reading is Fundamental:
• Readers make better listeners.
• Readers are typically better students.
• Reading helps students build a strong vocabulary and language skills.
• Learning and discovery.
Resources school libraries offer:
2. Resource materials for research.
3. Computers for Internet access and learning.
4. Introduction to digital devices.
5. Access to educational movies and other learning tools.
6. Direction and guidance of a librarian.
Positive impact of school library programs:
According to School Libraries Impact Studies, school library programs can result in the following:
• Higher student achievement and motivation.
• Help produce quality learners.
• Students who achieve better reading scores.
• Assist in strengthening at-risk students.
• Linked to college success.
Importance of librarians:
• Introduce students to great books and promote the benefits of reading.
• Choose books to include in the library catalog, and maintain books and resources within the library.
• Assist students in finding and using other resources.
• Well versed in a variety of reading materials and topics.
• Help strengthen the educational experience.
Information on School Library Month (SLM):
Started in 1985, SLM was established to recognize the importance school libraries and librarians play in the educational process. The theme for 2014 is Lives change @ your library; Jeff Kinney, New York Times bestselling author of “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” is the national spokesperson. This month long celebration of school libraries includes activities and programs in school libraries throughout the country.
Specific days within the month of April are also dedicated to celebrating particular aspects of the educational experience related to the library:
• Tuesday, April 15 is National Library Workers Day
• Wednesday, April 16 is National Bookmobile Day
• Thursday, April 17 is Support Teen Literature Day
Check out www.ala.org for more details on these specific days and activities.
How can you get involved?
• Thank your school librarian for the work she does for students. Have your child make a gift to demonstrate his/her appreciation, if possible.
• Join in on the many activities being held throughout the month in celebration of School Library Month.
• Express the importance of your child’s school library and staff by signing a declaration in support of the library here.
• Use social media, such as twitter, to share how the library has impacted your life. Make this a family project by including comments by individual family members.
For more information:
Visit American Association of School Librarians (AASL).