Why school librarians?

Just before I headed to Florida for some much-deserved sunshine, this brightened my day last week. I love Nora Raleigh Baskin’s books, and I love her support of elementary school librarians even more.

Her essay written in support of a librarian’s job should be required reading for all school boards and school administrations.

I won’t repost the entire test here, as I don’t have permission, but her main points are:

  •  School librarians are trained and, more importantly, passionate about finding and acquiring new books and resources for the students they serve.
  • School librarians are adept at assisting teachers in finding resources and materials to support ever-more stringent curriculums.
  • School librarians teach students how to conduct research and more importantly, how to evaluate their sources, whether found via the all-mighty Google or other methods.

I’d add that school librarians are invaluable for readers’ advisory in schools. Not every teacher reads or keeps up with current kid lit, and few volunteers do. While pretty much anyone can check out a book, how many folks can find a good match for a child who says they want a contemporary realistic book that has people with disabilities in it?

A library catalog’s search engine is good, but a librarian who’s been reading and following kid lit for several years is even better. (Not to mention that a good librarian knows her collection as if it were her own bookshelf.)

How do I know this?

Well, just before spring break, I overheard one of my second-grade students announce that “Ms. Leslie is like a robot! She knows everything.” 🙂

I was thrilled – and even more so by his friend’s reply: “I wonder who programmed her?” 😉

My MLS program and many, many hours spent reading children’s books and working in libraries of all kinds, my second-grade friend!

So thanks to Nora for the support, and I’d like her to know that there’s a fifth-grader in NYC who devoured Anything But Typical – and pronounced it the best book he’d read so far this year.

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