We started a conversation with you about your school libraries and the stories that poured in are warming our hearts. We got this text from Esther in Jacksonville, Florida:
"Can you say sanctuary?!?! Always the coldest area of the school. Thousands of books to escape in, sometimes when escaping from classmates, teachers, admin, friends, not-so-friends, crushes, ex's... The card catalog drawers, Dewey Decimal System, feel of the books and yellowed paper, crinkle of microfiche, the smell of that much paper, ink, dust, and fingerprints... Ahhh.... I just had flashes of my elementary, middle, high schools, public library, and college libraries and they were all warm nostalgic feelings of a comfortable safe places!"
These comfortable, and safe places have also been shown to be places that measurably improve students' academic performance. Studies have shown that students who attend schools with libraries score better on reading and writing tests than students whose schools don't have libraries.
But despite these numbers, the library is often the first part of the school to see its budget cut. Here in New York City, the number of libraries in schools has fallen to 700 from 1,500 ten years ago. It's a similar story in Ohio, California, and Pennsylvania, where school library positions are being cut and school libraries are shrinking or vanishing altogether.
Sara Kelly Johns, Instructor at the Mansfield University School Library and Information Technologies Program explains why libraries are all the more important in the digital age.