Sunday, May 1, 2016

Is The School Library Closing?

I was at my daughter’s second-grade classroom the other day.  She was participating in an event that showcased poetry.  It was wonderful to see the kids read their works aloud and hold up signs for “alliteration” and “couplet.”  

April is National Poetry Month, a celebration that was introduced two decades ago by the Academy of American Poets as a means to increase awareness and enhance a deeper appreciation of poetry in America and Canada. is a good resource to learn about local poetry events.  

My wife and I gave our eight-year-old daughter a copy of Shel Silverstein’s Where the Sidewalk Ends:  40-year Edition.  She loves it.  Seeing her gap-toothed grin made me smile as wide as the halls are long at her elementary school.

We should always encourage our youth to experiment with writing in all forms and genres.  Let them try everything on so they can determine what fits them.

While I attended her event, I heard a disturbing rumor that the school’s library may disappear and be replaced with a tech and robotics center. The news was shocking.

I paused to reflect and thought, “Well, the kids can get books at their local library, but they can’t easily get a decked-out technology lab."  But that quickly got replaced with:  “How could a school not have a library?”  I came to my senses quickly, even though the shiny, new toy sounded promising.  It’s a shame we have to choose between the two.

After the principal quelled the rumors and reassured me personally that this was not going to happen, I felt relieved but unsettled. I realized that it could’ve happened and still might down the road.  It can certainly happen at any of the other thousands of elementary schools across the country.

Libraries serve many functions in a school.  They not only are a repository of wisdom and inspiration, but they serve as a strong model for the printed word.  Students enter a library and feel the power of choice, ideas, and information wall to wall. They can come across hundreds or thousands of titles, touching, seeing, and reading centuries of history and imagination.

Sure kids can get books for cheap on  Sure they have a community library where they can get books for free.  Sure they can find tons of digital content online.  But when they attend a school they need to be exposed to a library.  It doesn’t just provide a book they may need to do a report.  It provides an opportunity for young minds to discover the reader inside themselves.  It provides a safe, encouraging, and sharing environment.  It gives shelter to books and to readers.  Its very existence makes a strong statement that books matter, that they don’t just get boxed up into a device or remain shored away in an attic.  

Books matter and a school library must always be seen as the foundation for a school and for one’s learning experience.

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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2016

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