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’m not sure where this school is located. No link to a news story in the post prompt. I think every school needs a library. So does every elementary school classroom, every middle school reading or language arts classroom (really, other subjects should, too), and every high school English classroom. Minimum. The library is more than just a room that houses books. It is a room that celebrates reading, books, media, and learning. It is a place for students to gather to study. It is a refuge for students like I was when I was young—a place to find new books, a place to hide, a place to think. I can’t imagine taking that away from students. Why so many people have decided we can do without libraries lately is beyond my comprehension. Even though I had moved away by the time it closed, I was saddened to learn the library I used to ride my bike to when I was a kid had closed. I wanted other children to be able to experience what I had experienced.
We also need our librarians. They stay current on good books and can help students find books to read. To push that role on overloaded teachers is not a solution. I can recommend books to my students. I read a lot. But no one can replace a librarian for expertise. How many kids have been turned on to their favorite book or even to reading in general because a librarian took an interest and made a recommendation? I loved spending time in my school library. When I was in fifth grade, I loved being chosen to be the office worker because I could finish all my school work by 11:00 and read for the rest of the day. The office staff let me go to the library to pick out books. I vividly remember asking a librarian to help me find an author’s address so I could write to him, telling him how I loved his book. She was more crushed than I was to discovered he had already passed away.
It doesn’t sound like the stakeholders—the students, parents, or teachers—want this. Surely there is a better way to save money than to remove librarians and a central library from a school.