I’m not one that is enthralled by time sensitive school test scores if I can get any better gauge of the enduring effects of a school’s literacy program. For example, the circulation figures from a classroom’s library or the whole school library are an excellent indication of the effects that the school is having on children becoming lifelong readers and thus lifelong learners. THAT of course is the ultimate measure of a school’s success, in my view.
My position is not a common one of course. In fact, I know only a few professional educators and fewer parents who consider such libraries much more than warehouses for books and research materials for school reports and the like.
I’ve recently read about all the benefits that well-stocked school libraries and truly active school librarians can add to create the effective literacy programs of schools…and even to enhance those yearly assessment scores. The research is clear that the quality of the library and the breadth and depth of learning activities that go on there is strongly related to elevated reading achievement. That seems to be even especially true for schools serving children from low-income and low parent education homes.
Most of us who have been in libraries recently know how to do what we went there for. For those teachers and parents wondering what the standard for a truly terrific school library even looks like when it’s up to speed, let me recommend that you review of the seven-page pamphlet* summarizing the most recent standards, created and used by the American Association of School Librarians. These are for assessing and guiding the development of lifelong learners, the libraries that best serve such learners and the talented and resourceful librarians in charge of the complex learning spaces that they create for their schools.
That short document provides us outsiders with a glimpse of the stringent criteria used in guiding the professional development of librarians and valuable libraries for children and their families in the 21st century.
It’s not just a bunch of books and technology!
As you will see in the standards linked above, the idea of comprehensive library services includes nurturing lifelong readers and self-directed lifelong learners, but also providing the guidance for educators and families for helping children benefit from such an enterprise.
The libraries of our schools can and should support our children in fashioning a solid foundation for understanding, and becoming productive and fully satisfied lifelong contributors to this ever-changing world.
Note: Click on image to enlarge.