[Web4lib] Do School Libraries Need Books? (essays from a NY Times blog)

Preslar, Gail gpreslar at eastman.com
Thu Feb 11 17:37:53 EST 2010

I grew up (3rd-7th grade) in a very impoverished school system (pre LBJ days when Federal funds began to flow into such schools.)  This school had EXCELLENT, DEDICATED  TEACHERS but no school library or local public libraries. I am above average in intelligence & I was a good student, but not a reader.  We had books in the classroom...but never had the opportunity to go to the library.
The summer between the 7th & 8th grade my family moved 20+miles to a larger town that had a new public library.  My new school (8th grade) did not have much of a library.   Fortunately, my mom took my brother & me to the public library at least once a week that magical summer of our move.  By the time I reached 9th grade, I had become a reader.  The new-to-me public library ABSOLUTELY TRANSFORMED MY LIFE.  While in High School, I spent every spare moment in the library.  I did not read the WHOLE library before graduation...but I did make a dent in it.

The money spent on libraries is an investment in the community.

My heritage is blue collar, hardworking, under-educated people.  My education has enabled me to have a much finer life than many of my relatives, esp. earlier generations.  My son is a physician.  My daughter is preparing for graduate school.  I attribute much of this 'upward mobility' to the transformations in MY LIFE from BECOMING A READER.

I regularly share 'my story' with folks about the need to provide children multiple access point to books.  I am on the First Book - Greater Kingsport Board of Directors & speak regularly on this topic.

School librarian are different animals than classroom teachers.  We need BOTH in the educational journey of our children.  School librarians can help even the most reluctant reader find a book to meet his/her needs.

Electronics DO change the educational, learning environment.  However, reading requires books in some format.  Even ebooks need to be read.  Just as a musician needs a musical instrument to practice & become a great musician.  People need books to practice reading & ultimately become readers.

>M Gail Preslar, mls                    voice: 423-229-6117
>Business Library, B280
>Library & Information Services (LIBRIS) 
>mailto:gpreslar at eastman.com
>mailto:buslib at eastman.com             fax: 423-224-0111
postal address:
     Business Library, B280                 
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-----Original Message-----
From: web4lib-bounces at webjunction.org [mailto:web4lib-bounces at webjunction.org] On Behalf Of B.G. Sloan
Sent: Thursday, February 11, 2010 4:33 PM
To: web4lib at webjunction.org
Subject: [I] [Web4lib] Do School Libraries Need Books? (essays from a NY Times blog)

Interesting set of essays from a NY Times blog:
"Keeping traditional school libraries up to date is costly, with the constant need to acquire new books and to find space to store them. Yet for all that trouble, students roam the stacks less and less because they find it so much more efficient to work online...Do schools need to maintain traditional libraries? What are the educational consequences of having students read less on the printed page and more on the Web?"
Bernie Sloan

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