Reading & Literacy Letter to the Editor

School Libraries are Essential to the ‘Library Ecosystem’

May 06, 2014 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

To the Editor:

In April, the American Library Association and the nation celebrated School Library Month. Libraries of all types work together as part of a library ecosystem to deliver learning opportunities for people of all ages. However, a threat to one part of the system stresses the entire system.

At this moment, we are facing a serious threat to school libraries.

Unfortunately, school library reductions are currently taking place in school districts in California, Connecticut, Illinois, New York, Pennsylvania, and several other states.

Inadequate funding for school libraries can result in K-12 students’ not learning the essential skills to pursue their own investigations, critically evaluate digital and print information sources, gather evidence, and develop their own understandings. As a result, they are unprepared to handle the academic challenges of higher education.

The demise of K-12 libraries means that most first-year college students are entirely new to library research and have a limited understanding of what the research process entails and how librarians can assist them. Academic librarians and teaching faculty must devote extra time to teaching students the cognitive skills needed for scholarly inquiry.

School library closures have negative consequences for other parts of the library ecosystem as well. Closures result in pressure on the local public libraries to absorb the traffic. While public libraries already offer many programs for children and teens, there’s no doubt that an uptick in demand will have a strong negative impact on youths in our communities who are better served by the free resources and staff of school and public libraries.

To have a healthy, functioning society, the entire library ecosystem must be sustained with the level of financial investment necessary to support the learning needs of everyone in the community.

Barbara Stripling


American Library Association

Chicago, Ill.

A version of this article appeared in the May 07, 2014 edition of Education Week as School Libraries are Essential to the ‘Library Ecosystem’


This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Teaching Webinar
6 Key Trends in Teaching and Learning
As we enter the third school year affected by the pandemic—and a return to the classroom for many—we come better prepared, but questions remain. How will the last year impact teaching and learning this school
Content provided by Instructure
Teaching Profession Live Online Discussion What Have We Learned From Teachers During the Pandemic?
University of California, Santa Cruz, researcher Lora Bartlett and her colleagues spent months studying how the pandemic affected classroom teachers. We will discuss the takeaways from her research not only for teachers, but also for
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Student Well-Being Webinar
Trauma-Informed Practices & the Construction of the Deep Reading Brain
Join Ryan Lee-James, Ph.D. CCC-SLP, director of the Rollins Center for Language and Literacy, with Renée Boynton-Jarrett, MD, ScD., Vital Village Community Engagement Network; Neena McConnico, Ph.D, LMHC, Child Witness to Violence Project; and Sondra
Content provided by Rollins Center

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Reading & Literacy Spotlight Spotlight on Literacy in Education
In this Spotlight, evaluate the possible gaps your current curriculum may have and gain insights from the front-lines of teaching.
Reading & Literacy Opinion Teachers, More Than Programs, Make for Great Reading Instruction
Let's focus on specific teaching practices, not confusing labels like "balanced literacy," write Irene C. Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell.
Irene C. Fountas & Gay Su Pinnell
5 min read
Children reading books in front of books.
iStock/Getty Images
Reading & Literacy Creator of 1619 Project Launching After-School Literacy Program
The 1619 Freedom School, led by journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones, will make its curriculum a free online resource in 2022.
4 min read
Collage of an American Flag.
Collage: Laura Baker/Education Week (Images: iStock/Getty)
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Reading & Literacy Whitepaper
Scaffolding to Achieve Grade-Level Literacy
In this whitepaper, Curriculum Associates National Director Kandra James explores how scaffolding, the use of instructional techniques an...
Content provided by Curriculum Associates