“School librarians help children develop a love of reading and teach them to become critical thinkers. In other words, they are essential to building a child’s greatest asset – their mind.”
— Kareem Abdul Jabar, 2013 Official Spokesperson for School Library Month
In 1985, the American Association of School Librarians?designated School Library Month as a time to honor the critical work of school libraries in building stronger communities, supporting students’ educational journeys and empowering tomorrow’s community leaders.
For my daughter’s kindergarten class, every Tuesday is library day. You can see the pleasure on the kids’ faces as they walk down the halls, their blue book bags in hand. Donna* — “the friendly librarian lady” as my daughter describes her – helps put that smile on the kids’ faces. She reads to them, helps them define their interests, and teaches them library skills for exploring all the wonderful books at their disposal. The children look like they are on a treasure hunt as they share their finds.
A librarian for nine years, Donna says the most rewarding part of her job is also the most challenging: “helping the students find that ‘just right’ book to read – one that excites them and keeps them coming back for more.”
In contrast, the most misunderstood part of her job is “the perception that all I do is read to students, check out books, and put them away.” Donna explains that there are other important tasks that keep school librarians busy, including “book repair, purchasing new books, weeding the library to keep it up-to-date, and inventory, just to name a few.”
I asked Donna to comment on the role of children’s e-books in her work. ?While “e-books have not come in to play” on her campus yet, Donna feels “there can be a happy co-existence between the two.” She observes, “Not only do children learn differently, but also their comfort levels when reading – and comprehending what they read – differ. Both traditional and e-books can help with that differentiation.”
As another school year starts to wind down and teacher/staff appreciation days loom, don’t forget to thank your school librarians, too. They help teach, motivate and inspire young readers, shaping their educational journeys in profound ways.
While nothing can compare to a face-to-face interaction with a librarian, the Bookboard library is available any day of the week, and the same collection management skills (weeding and acquiring new books) and book recommendation processes are lovingly applied by Bookboard’s librarian, Cen, to give kids the same feeling of excitement and discovery.
* Actual name not used