This week’s musing asks…
The local Catholic school board is closing its school libraries, and parents and teachers –and even the students– are in an uproar. Budget cuts demanded that the board choose something to get rid of… they choose libraries. As such, many librarians have lost their jobs. And, the board is moving the books to the classrooms, instead. They feel that it is a good solution.In my experience, schools use library rooms for a whole range of different things, not just reading. They can be a place for children to take a safe (and supervised) 'time-out', for small groups to meet, for those who can't do PE or play outside to go and sometimes even double-up as IT suites. When I was in primary school the library was a place which I could take responsibility for, get away from the playground bullying and learn how to be systematic in my approach to sorting.
What do you think? Should the schools be without an actual “library” room? Is this a good solution?
Now, presuming that the actual room still exists, some of these things can still be done. There will still be a place for small groups, the IT suite will still be there and there is still a quiet space. But without the librarian another adult would have to be in there and so could this mean another teaching assistant is needed?
Pupils could take responsibility for their classroom libraries but, realistically, this is never going to be such an important responsibility. Plus, many schools already have this in addition to the school library! And the books will presumably be sent to classrooms according to average reading ability. So what will happen to those children who are not reading at the 'average' level? Presumably they will have to go and look for their bookss in other classes, meaning that eithers pupils are all over the school or staff have to spend valuable time going around trying to find the right levels of books for all their pupils.
In short, I think that it is a bad idea to get rid of school libraries. Having said that, it is important to consider what would be got rid of if not the libraries. Could it be teaching assistants, computers, heating, teachers, textbooks, healthy snacks or music lessons? All these are just as essential surely- in these economic times these are hard decisions to make!