The Importance of School Librarians
School librarians are matchmakers. They are experts at matching students with just the right books and teachers with just the right resources, print or digital. But that is just the beginning of their expertise. We at Capstone are proud to support librarians in their vital work by developing books and digital tools that help them promote in their students a lifelong love of learning and the critical thinking skills to become savvy digital citizens and consumers of information. We join our voice with theirs, advocating for equity and access for every student in every school.
School Library Advocacy is Advocacy for Student Achievement
Research repeatedly shows that students who are exposed to quality library programs staffed by certified librarians achieve better educational outcomes. In fact, 34 statewide studies confirm links between strong school libraries and student achievement.
#RepresentationMatters. Libraries are for ALL students.
School libraries offer students of all ages, abilities, and backgrounds the books they need to activate their imaginations and satisfy their curiosity. Librarians curate book collections that both reflect their communities and expose students to ideas and experiences beyond their own neighborhoods.
Sharing the Yasmin series with early readers helps Muslim children find themselves in a book, helps non-Muslim readers understand a little bit more about their friends’ lives, and provides a delightful reading experience for everyone. Reading A Different Pond together helps students understand the immigrant experience and what it means to live in poverty. Exploring its evocative art encourages students to see how these experiences might affect a relationship between father and son. Diving into the fun of Emma Every Day, readers learn about kids who are both different and the same and through its #OwnVoices author, C.L. Reid, students also understand that disabled people have all kinds of careers.
Equity extends to digital resources as well. Librarians advocate for 508 and WCAG compliant websites and technology tools like PebbleGo and PebbleGo Next to remove barriers for disabled students who use adaptive technologies. They seek out eBooks like those from Capstone that scaffold text with engaging audio to make content more accessible for a variety of learners—beginning readers, struggling readers, multi-language learners, and more.
Digital Citizenship and Information Literacy
Author Neil Gaiman famously said, “Google can bring you back, you know, a hundred thousand answers. A librarian can bring you back the right one.” But more importantly, librarians teach students how to discover and discern credible information for themselves.
According to a Pew Research report, more than one third of children under five interact with smart phones and a staggering 81% of 4-5 years olds are consumers of content on YouTube alone. Our kids are digital citizens and consumers of information before they start kindergarten, but they don’t have the tools to make heads or tails of all the messaging coming their way. Librarians step up to the plate immediately in Kindergarten using resources like PebbleGo to help kids begin to understand how to find facts online and what makes online information credible. They also take charge of helping students learn the skills and habits that will keep them safe online.
Librarians help students continue to build these skills throughout their entire K-12 education with the goal of graduating critical thinkers who are savvy consumers of information—essential skills for modern workplaces and participating in civic life. Anyone who thinks school libraries are quiet places full of dusty books simply hasn’t been in one for too long.
The Library is the Largest Classroom in the School
The school library has long been unconstrained by physical space. The role of the school librarian requires someone skilled in literacy, curriculum, instruction, and technology. Librarians collaborate with teachers to enhance instruction with additional resources, extend learning beyond the classroom with research, and promote the safe and effective use of technology.
The Covid-19 pandemic puts the importance of effective school library programs front and center. With the necessity of distance or remote learning in many communities, school librarians provide leadership in the most effective ways to integrate technology and instruction and find resources and content that help keep classroom teachers teaching and kids learning. For concrete examples of how librarians extend their practice during this time, explore the New York City School Library System Translation of Practice for School Librarians document.
Capstone is Here to Help
We put our heart into developing resources kids want to read and that help make the school library a place of discovery, imagination, and learning. We know the importance a strong school library program has in boosting student achievement and success. School librarians are an integral part in the learning happening in their schools and we’re here to help support you.