The Truth About School Library Funding

If state funding for school library programs were any closer to being non-existent it would be non-existent. Period.  

I don’t think you’re surprised, you probably just never thought too much about it.

Or maybe you have thought about it and you don’t give a damn but you need to give a damn.

School libraries are fundamental in developing good students. Good students go on to good colleges and get respectable jobs and become the people who will change our world someday.

If we take the time to show young kids how enjoyable reading can be we are enabling them to enrich their own lives. Kids who read for enjoyment have better imaginations, develop better study habits, are exposed to a continuous supply of new vocabulary and have an easier time muddling through all the other lame subjects in the curriculum. Social Studies is so boring, and it sucks more if you have trouble reading out loud in front of the class from a textbook. Common Core story problems make kids whiny. Trying to figure out how many gallons of paint it will take to drive 19 mph makes me want to bang my head against the wall. Imagine how frustrating it must be for kids who have trouble comprehending words. 

The days of having a school librarian with a degree and salary are long gone. Most schools have, at best, a part-time would-be stay-at-home mom who was volunteering at the school so much she decided to take the job when it opened and thankfully doesn’t really need the money as much as she needs to get out of the house a couple hours a day. BONUS: she likes to read to kids. She does her best to order good-looking books through the confinements of the Scholastic Dollars catalog spending points the school earned through the semi-annual book fairs (which rarely includes newly published books) She’ll ask for donations of used books, but in the end spend countless hours cataloging 14 duplicate copies of Junie B. Jones, Goosebumps and Charlotte's Web.

I’m not saying DON’T donate used books to schools, I’m saying we get a lot of what we already have through these donations. The books you donate can always be put to good use. If we don’t need them in the library we will put them in the classrooms and even give them to kids who have no books of their own. What I want people to understand is we TRULY, DESPERATELY NEED new books. Current, newly published award winning or soon to be winning books, and without you we can't get them. Kids need to get excited about books beyond the new Diary of a Wimpy Kid novel. They need to read books like The War That Saved My Life and Wolf Hollow and they’ll never know about these new books if they’re not exposed to them.

If you want to help your elementary school library, call the librarian ask them for a couple titles they wish they had. If they don’t have any suggestions, ask them if they have any of these:

  1. The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo
  2. The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate
  3. The War That Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
  4. Circus Mirandus by Cassie Beasley
  5. The Thing About Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin
  6. One for the Murphy’s by Lynda Mullaly Hunt
  7. Mark of the Thief by Jennifer A. Nielsen
  8. Al Capone Shines My Shoes by Gennifer Choldenko
  9. The Best Bad Luck I Ever Had by Kristin Levine
  10. Echo by Pam Munoz Ryan
  11. Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper
  12. Fish in a Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt
  13. Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson (graphic novel)
  14. El Deafo by Cece Bell (graphic novel)
  15. Pax by Sara Pennypacker
  16. Wolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk
  17. Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson
  18. Crenshaw by Katherine Applegate
  19. The Paper Cowboy by Kristin Levine
  20. The False Prince Trilogy by Jennifer A. Nielsen

*If you're a teacher or school librarian, consider setting up a Wish List on Amazon. It's free and super easy to do. Get the word out to the community that you have a Wish List. People can view it and purchase books you want and it will be shipped to the school. Many people can spare $10 or less, especially for a book that will reach the hands of countless students, and many people want to help-they just don't know what you need. Last year we received over one hundred brand new book donations purchased through my Amazon Wish List.

1 comment:

  1. You're the best. End of story. :) Thanks for being such a great Librarian, we are so lucky to have you. You have inspired me to read more, and that's saying something!