In praise of school libraries

Published 10:53 pm Friday, April 7, 2017

Every day, every month and even every year seems to be dedicated to recognizing one cause or another, which is fine, of course. But this month, we particularly want to bring to your attention that April is dedicated to promoting school libraries.

As you might have guessed, a national organization of school librarians is especially championing the occasion to bring to everyone’s attention the valuable service of these centers within the arenas of learning.

This year’s theme answers the question of why such places are so important: “Because School Libraries Empower Students.”

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That’s fitting, because these venues serve an important two-fold purpose. First, they and their librarians provide the materials for students to research and learn practically any topic their teachers or they can imagine.

Books, magazines, audio and visual materials are treasures in plain sight that can inform and enlighten anyone who uses them. School librarians can guide young researchers to finding just the right book or article that can turn an average, ho-hum report or project into an excellent and exciting one worth reading and remembering.

Second, they are places of reading and recreation that nurture students’ imaginations. Not all the books are meant to be the subject of a lengthy paper or crafty project. They can be read for themselves, without strings attached. What comes out of reading at a school library is up to the students.

As school superintendents are working on their budgets, we hope they are giving serious consideration into setting aside funds to buy new books and other materials that enrich all who use school libraries.