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The recent remarks of Secretary of Education Arne Duncan about school libraries reflects his belief that school libraries are important.
“We recognize the dire straits of tough economic times and the stress the states are under,” he said. “We don’t want people to take a step backwards and there are all kinds of documented studies that show where you have healthy and strong and vibrant libraries with librarians staffing them students do better, they read better, their test scores go up.”
As a librarian and a person who has been an avid reader all my life, I often feel like this statement is achingly obvious. Part of me wants to say ‘duh!’ like so many of my students might. But nothing is sacred in this age of budget cuts. As librarians we have to once again find a way to explain that the library and a trained librarian are important to students’ success.
If the library is the heart of the school, the librarian is an important section of the brain that helps the heart run. If you cut us from the body of the school, you cut out the school’s heart and part of its brain. Perhaps the school can continue, on life support and using a mechanical heart, but it will not function well.
School library, how do I love thee?
Let me count the ways.
Eleanor Simons is a librarian at LAMS.