Library Notes

  • Crafts With Nikkie, a new children's program, will be held on Thursday, August 17th at 4:00 p.m. in the meeting room. Come and make a beaded necklace!
  • The library has a new AWE Literacy Station geared for children aged 2 to 8 years old. (See post.)
  • Book signing for author of "The Adventures of Stinkerpup" Isis Grayling on Saturday, June 3, from 2 - 4 p.m.
  • Summer Story Hour "Make A Better World" is coming! Beginning Wednesday, June 14th, this seven week program will continue every Wednesday from 10 - 11 a.m. through July 26th. (See post.)
  • The Arthur Johnson Memorial Library Board will hold their next meeting on Tuesday, May 16, 2017, at 5:30 p.m. in the meeting room at the library.
  • Are you interested in joining a new Writer's Group? Meetings held on Fridays, at 10:00 a.m. This is for any writer who wishes to meet with other writers. Beginners, experienced, published, unpublished, writers of fiction, non-fiction, memoirs, bloggers - all are welcome.
  • Preschool Story Hour is conducted every Wednesday morning at 10:00 a.m. We read books to the children and there is a project every week. It's never too soon to introduce your children to the library!
  • Schedule a meeting at the library. Call 445-9711 to get on the calendar in advance. The library stays open until 6:00 P.M., Monday - Saturday, except for Thursday, when it stays open until 9:00 P.M.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Are School Libraries Important?

There seems to be movement afoot in this time of 'no money' in which some schools are considering closing their school libraries. Theoretically it will save money, and perhaps that is true for some schools who have invested heavily in their libraries, their collections, their computer labs and their staff. (But if that is the case, those schools probably won't consider closing their libraries down, if only because so much money has been pumped into them.)

Unfortunately, those schools are probably outnumbered by schools who have always put libraries on the back burner because other things are more important. Things like another office staff member, raises for administration, the cost of gas to get girls sports teams and boys spots teams to different locations on different days (what ever happened to scheduling those games on the same day?), upgrading the computers in classrooms and offices, and who knows what else. For those schools, eliminating libraries probably seems logical on the surface, even though the libraries in those schools are funded with a pittance anyway and the savings may just be a drop in the bucket.

Often school librarians are not seen as equal partners with teachers and administrators in the education system. Reading is taught in the classroom and textbooks are used there to teach the three R's. Work done outside the classroom is the student's responsibility. If information is needed for an assignment, the student is expected to locate it.

What parents and everyone involved in education needs to remember is that libraries in schools are supposed to be able to supply primary and supplementary material on the premises for this very reason. Librarians can help students with books, periodicals, and computer resources for research, book reports, and sometimes (gasp) with materials a student wants to use outside homework and required reading. Teachers don't have time to walk students individually through finding everything they need. Modern education methods have left them with so much paperwork and evaluation to do, not to mention hoping they meet the mandated goals set by the federal government so the school can receive enough funds to operate, that they are lucky to have time to get through the curriculum during class. There aren't enough hours in the day to help students with outside sources one-on-one.

That is where a school librarian as an education partner can come in handy. If the school system has realized the value of an information specialist, kept the collection up to date, and made sure the library computers actually operate, students can find the guidance they need to information and knowledge. Otherwise, young students are dependent on parents who are already hard pressed for time to get them to the public library to find the book on their list. Students without computers need to find a way to get to the public library which is often the only other place in town with free Internet access, as it is in Raton. High school students who can drive have to be dedicated to go to the library for research and writing in between extra-curricular and social activities.

Public libraries help by providing books, magazines and computers for students who get there after school hours or on weekends. But the public library is meant to cover the needs of the entire public and should not be considered the primary or only source for all educational needs. Often, especially in a small town, they will not have the space or the funds to cover the needs of all classrooms at all levels or for all subjects for hundreds of students.

Which is why schools who consider closing their libraries are short changing students who are required by law to attend their institutions. The U.S. has fallen behind many other countries in the numbers of students who graduate and the amount of knowledge they graduate with. Ignoring or closing school libraries will not help improve that situation one bit.

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