The Need for the School Library

According to an article written for the Voice of San Diego, many of the libraries in public schools across the city are not staffed.  The reason for this lack of staff comes from, suprise, lack of funding, but also from union rules that state librarians, library assistants and techs cannot be replaced by a volunteer or staff that would replace the job of the above positions in any meaningful way.  This causes the great support structure a school librarian can give to a classroom, helping not only in research for the students but for information for teachers.

School libraries are barren in my memories, a few visits each year to watch a movie, hear a talk about our bodies, or see someone dressed up as a children's lit character (including one lady that did a killer impression of Miss Nelson's alter ego Viola Swamp).  In high school the library was almost non-existent because the lady in charge did not like children.  The computer lab, a new thing, was carefully watched lest we look at anything unsavory and we had to fight for free printing.  Beyond that, we took tests there like the ASVAB and ACT.  A few English teachers even bought copies of books we read with their own money, which I learned after an incident with an exploding coke can.  The Scarlet Letter costs money, you guys.

As I became a library professional, though, I began to see how not normal that was, and not just from watching Buffy.  I know several school librarians who supplement the learning of the kids in the school in large ways, helping to refine curriculum and better the students through an interaction with knowledge and research.  They teach often more than the lecturers in the classroom because the librarians hold the ways to get the right information, not just the information itself.  We can spout figures and facts all day about what kids need to learn, but that's all bullshit.  

In today's age, information is at the touch of a screen.  As a society, we should be focused on teaching kids how to find the right information they need, not just the same crap everyone else needs to know.  We need to focus on the application for the search of knowledge, rather than the knowledge itself.  That will breed wisdom rather than generations of know-it-all, self referential jackasses, i.e. hipsters.

via Voice of San Diego