I recently came across some material I downloaded from the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) titled “The Campaign for America’s Libraries: Toolkit for the School Library Media Program.” AASL in partnership with the American Library Association (ALA) developed this national campaign to support school library-media specialists in delivering a strong and clear message to (among other objectives)…
- Increase awareness of and support for the role of school library media programs;
- Build understanding and appreciation for the value of school librarians
In revisiting this material, I found that some of the questions are still relevant today. Please take a moment to read the following information taken from this document:
Isn’t everything available on the Internet? Why do we need a school library?
Our school library is more than books. It’s a learning hub with a full range of print and electronic resources that support student achievement. These resources include books, magazines, videotapes, computers, databases and much more. More importantly, there is a school library media specialist to assist students with their information needs and help teachers develop projects that engage students in developing critical learning and research skills.
There is no such thing as good education without a good library. Studies have shown there is a direct link between student achievement and library media centers that are professionally staffed and well stocked with books and technology.
Why do we need a school library media specialist? Can’t we use volunteers?
School library media specialists have advanced education degrees as teachers and librarians. They understand how to teach and are experts in children’s and young adult literature, as well as information science. They know what kids like to read and what is appropriate at different stages of their development. They understand how information is organized and how to find it in many different formats—print and electronic. They are there to help classroom teachers teach and students to learn using a variety of resources.
Isn’t it true students don’t use the library anymore?
On the contrary! Our library is filled with students throughout the day . . . reading books, logging on to the Internet, getting help with research projects, studying, working on projects with other students, participating in various programs and activities, and lots more. Not only that, our Web site is used by students for homework and other research after school. I encourage you to visit our library and Web site and see for yourself.
Since everything is electronic, shouldn’t the library need less money?
Technology offers many advantages, but saving money isn’t necessarily one of them. Computers and other electronic resources must be maintained, updated and staffed. In addition, our library has a large collection of books, magazines, videos and other learning resources that aren’t on the Internet. Our students must be skilled in using many different media if they are to succeed in today’s world.
What is “information literacy” anyway?
Information literacy means knowing how to find, evaluate and use information from a variety of sources. It means knowing when a book may be more helpful than a Web site. It means knowing what questions to ask. Is the information complete? Accurate? Is someone trying to sell something? Good decisions depend on good information. School library media specialists know that the best source of information isn’t always Google. They teach 21st century research skills that students will use throughout their lives.
Why should we invest in books when they have the Internet?
Our students need both if they are to learn and achieve. If students are to learn how to be effective consumers of information, they must understand and be able to use many different media. The Internet, for instance, is useful primarily for current information. Books and other print resources offer a greater breadth and depth of information than can be found online. Sometimes a video is a better learning tool than a book or the Internet.
Be sure to check back to learn more about how your school library-media center can be a central part of your child’s education!