“The positive relationship between a well funded and fully staffed school library and academic achievement of children is a subject that is well documented. I feel fortunate to be the teacher-librarian at Roxhill, an elementary school that values the role of the library and librarian in academic achievement. I want to take this positive relationship a step further and affirm that our childrens’ relationship with their public library is also critical for their future.
“We know that we have succeeded as teachers when students take their education beyond the boundaries of the classroom. In large part, this next step is just being familiar with the public library, knowing how to get there by foot, being comfortable using its resources, feeling that it is a welcoming place. We want our students to see their public library as a home away from home, a school away from school—a place to go after school hours to extend their learning—a place that will welcome them on weekends and vacations. It is so important that students have this public library access. Because many of our students do not have books or computer access at home the public library plays an important role in equalizing opportunity for learning resources.
“Already this year, students at Roxhill have taken three field trips (by Metro Bus) to the Downtown Branch of the Public Library. Two of these field trips were for performances, the third was to participate in the Global Reading Challenge. These students are well on their way to claiming the Public Library as their own.
“The Global Reading Challenge is a striking example of breaking down the boundaries between school and the larger community. In a close partnership between the school librarians and public librarians, students are organized into teams, supplied with books and they read, read, read. With the distractions of television and video games competing with reading for student leisure time, this program is truly a heaven-sent alternative. Students love the camaraderie and competition of the programs. Many read books they otherwise would not have read and their experience in this program turns some from indifferent to avid readers. For those students who already love to read, this program pats them on the back, says “You are cool, because you are a reader.” The Global Reading Challenge has become an important part of the literacy program for 4th and 5th graders, an incredibly powerful reading motivational tool for our upper-grade students.
“All this is by way of saying that there is a strong connection between a successful school and the libraries that serve it. The school library and the public library co-exist as partners in the future of our children and each must be well staffed and well funded to fulfill its purpose.”
These comments are excerpts from thoughtful testimony written by the Roxhill Elementary School Librarian Teacher. Please support funding for The Seattle Public Library. How can you help? Email Councilmembers and ask them to preserve library funding. Can you offer more help? email@example.com