For those of us who have children under the age of five, we are well aware of the services provided to us by the public library – storytime, special events, family programming, the list goes on (people of all ages, if you are not using your public library, go TODAY!).
However, for those of us who have children in public school, you may not realize that your child’s school library, and especially the people who work in that library, are a valuable resource to you and your child.
April is National School Library Month. Here are 10 things you may not know about your child’s school library – full disclosure, I WAS a school librarian and now I teach other school librarians. I cannot speak to what is going on in ALL schools, but I know the majority of the school librarians around the country want what’s best for parents and children.
- In South Carolina, the school librarian in your child’s school has a Master’s Degree from an American Library Association accredited school. They are highly qualified, certified teachers and they often have a background in classroom teaching.
- The school library of today does not look like the school library you might remember. There are often MakerSpaces (areas where students can build, explore robotics, and more); open areas where students can feel comfortable to read, create digital projects, and just socialize; and books on shelves that resemble a book store more than a traditional library.
- The people who work in your child’s school library LOVE TO READ. This probably seems obvious, but they KNOW books. Classroom teachers know books too, but for many librarians, books and reading are a passion. Being surrounded by real readers is important for your child to foster a genuine love of reading.
- As a parent, your school librarian can suggest titles for you to read at home with your child. Lots of times, you can even check out books from your child’s library – just ask!
- Your child’s school librarian is a TEACHER. Not only is your child hearing about great books, but they are learning to be critical thinkers and users of information. The school librarian in your child’s school teaches students how to find reliable sources on the internet and in print media.
- Your school library probably hosts special events similar to the ones you love at the public library! Parents get overwhelmed with flyers from school, I know, but ask if your librarian sends out a newsletter – many times there are events and programs going on in your school library that you might be missing!
- Your school library often has subscriptions to some awesome resources that you can usually access at home. Ask your librarian if your school has a subscription to TumbleBooks!, BookFlix, PebbleGo, or any other subscription database or eBook source. Many times you will need a password to access these resources, but your school librarian will help you.
- There are many school libraries with a parenting collection. Books and other resources that you can use to make yourself more knowledgeable about things like learning disabilities, discipline, and parenting.
- Your child’s school library is often a safe place for your children to go when they feel overwhelmed or in need of finding their tribe. Often, school librarians offer programs like lunchtime book clubs or speakers in the library throughout the day … make sure your child is aware of what the school library has to offer, as well!
- Many school librarians love technology and can help you figure out tech toys for your child as well as suggest great apps for reading and learning.
Above all, your school librarian wants your child to succeed. Be aware of what is available to you and your children in your school library and take advantage of all of the wonderful resources they offer.