Yesterday, I shared my thoughts on why public libraries are so important. Today, here are my thoughts on why school libraries are so important.
I don’t have many memories of my primary school library, other than it being a fairly dim room full of books, however in secondary school, the school library was a place of refuge.
The school library was a quiet place where I could go and read or do homework and escape from a school playground where I didn’t fit in. I was also able to find books that were outside my usual reading, after speaking with the librarians for their recommendations.
I know I’m not the only kid who felt their school library was a place of refuge.
As well as being a quiet place, for many kids, the school library is the first place they get access to books, especially if they don’t come from a home full of books. Kids can browse the shelves to find the treasure they hold. They can read books that would be outside their usual classroom readers, and read books that may not fit their ‘reading level’, but fit their imaginations.
Kids can experiment with reading different genre and discover new authors and stories. Most kids who have a school library spend time there every week, where they can browse the shelves and borrow books to read. This can help foster a love of books and reading. It can also improve literacy. If kids are reading books they enjoy, their literacy improves.
School librarians can also celebrate books and reading through fun activities in a way that teachers may not have the space in their curriculum to do. They also support teachers in teaching literacy to their students by promoting reading and a love of books.
I know that my kids were lucky, they grew up surrounded by books and I took great pleasure in taking them to the public library regularly. The collections they had in their school libraries were much smaller than the public library, so they didn’t borrow many books there, but they were still surrounded by books during those sessions and stories and it helped them develop a love of reading.
School libraries are important in promoting literacy as well as being a safe space for kids who need one at school. Every school should have a teacher librarian and a well-stocked library.