by Deborah Grill
Over the past 15 years I have spoken many times on the positive correlation between school libraries staffed by Certified Teacher Librarians and academic success, especially reading skills and reading comprehension, especially in schools in low socio-economic communities.
Instead of reiterating the statistics, I am going to let the words of Philadelphia students and staff in 2 schools that created their own libraries make my case.
Both schools’ efforts were featured in the newspaper. Building 21 recently, and Kensington High School in 2018. Both libraries were the result of the students desire to better their schools.
The following quotes are from students and staff featured in the articles:
“Not everybody learns and grows by looking at a computer. They want to read a book.”
In a library, you get the isolation, mind-set, and focus you need to turn off all the noise and think your own thoughts.”
“I feel like it sparks an interest of wanting to read.” “Even if you do go into the library to meet up with someone, it’s just a good feeling.”
“I spent most of my lunchtime there, and after school. I’m an introvert, and I didn’t want to be in a loud lunchroom. The library was the perfect place to decompress.”
“Being able to give children voice and choice in what they’re reading and different genres exposures — that experience is really powerful for kids.”
“I would love a trained, certified librarian.” “Computers would be nice. A budget would be nice.”
Please, listen to your students and staff. They want Certified Teacher Librarians. They deserve school libraries.
Good readers grow up reading for pleasure. If you want students to leave the district reading on level, you need to get them excited about reading. You need to provide them with a broad and deep collection of books to choose from. School libraries and librarians provide this, among many other instructional services and supports. If you want them to read well, invest in Certified Teacher Librarians.