My early memories of reading take me back to the library at Washington Mill Elementary, where in third or fourth grade I spent hours poring over a series of biographies along with occasional scifi like A Wrinkle in Time. That was where I caught my appetite for life stories, one that nourishes me still – both intangibly and with food on the table.
So it hurts to read that school districts across the country are eliminating libraries and librarian positions. In Oregon, all 48 librarians in the Salem-Keizer school district’s elementary and middle schools face layoffs in a budget that will be voted on this week.
True, more classrooms are using laptops and iPads so students can do research without going to the library, but libraries are still where kids can learn skills they need to use those tools and analyze their searches and results, says Nancy Everhart, who leads a national association of school librarians, in the New York Times. In libraries they can find interests they might not otherwise see.