April is School Library Month. In Virginia, the governor makes an official proclamation every year acknowledging the importance of school librarians. The proclamation talks about the educational impact made by school librarians and the role of our profession in educating the students in the 21st Century. School librarians around the country spend this month advocating for their programs and espousing the significance of school libraries to the entire school. Who are the best advocates for the importance of school libraries? The students we serve. Truth – school librarians are important in developing 21st century learners. Truth – school librarians play a pivotal role in the school. Truth – school libraries should be the heart of the school. Truth – school libraries MUST be places of comfort and refuge for ALL of our students.
As I write, Congress is working on the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) and librarians are speaking out to get their voices heard. The NEA and AASL partnered to support a “Twitter Storm” just last week and library supporters tweeted about the impact and importance of school libraries. #GetESEARight Twitter lit up with comments about the importance of school libraries to the people that matter most – the students. Comments such as, “This is our library,” and “It’s a sanctuary,” showed what an effective school library program can mean to the students. Click here to watch a video about what one school library means to the school:
In a video clip posted by YALSA, one girl held up a sign that read in part, “When the world is harsh and unforgiving, I can escape to the sanctuary of a hardback novel, in a corner that is silent.”
When I was a high school librarian, a student leadership group at the school conducted a survey about bullying. We were delighted when they analyzed the results and discovered that the “safest” place in the school was the library! Students commented, “No one would dare bully anyone in the library. Everyone is welcome there!” Our students became our best advocates. They posted signs declaring the library was the safest spot in the school and announced it on the daily announcements. Their library was their safe haven no matter who you were, and they wanted everyone to know it. They wanted all students in the school to know that the library was a place of refuge, where all students mattered.
Watch this inspiring video from Fort Lauderdale Public Library Teens, “I Matter.”
What would your students say about your library? Put it to the test and ask them: Why does the school library matter? Share your video and let your students be your best advocates!
I’m a dog person. I love to watch our dogs on a sunny day as they follow the sun spot streaming through the window. They can’t get enough and they get up and move as the sun moves. They are content, relaxed, and in their happy place.
The library should be the sun spot for our students. It should be the place they go when they need comfort. It should be the place they seek out for warmth and belonging because they matter, and so does the library – their sanctuary – their place of escape – their home. It’s where their heart is.