“A librarian makes a reader.” With a simple book suggestion, school librarians create a reading experience.
Each April, we take time to celebrate our local hero, the school librarian. School Library Week celebrates the school librarian and the libraries as an approachable, equitable, and full-access learning environment necessary for every student’s well-rounded education.
Growing up I didn’t frequent the library as much as I should have, but these days as an educator, I am in the library daily. I’ve grown to appreciate our school librarian and each book they might help me gain access to. Most Lowcountry students have access to the library for weekly lessons and book check out. The library has evolved into a space that includes internet access, e-books, and the ability to place holds on traditional books (my favorite feature).
The school librarian can help create a comfortable and welcoming space for all students. In addition to exposing students to a vast array of books and reference materials, librarians also usually have the ability to connect with students on a personal level. In part, because, they’ve read the most stories, which makes their potential to build relationships with a variety of students more attainable.
According to a local school librarian from North Charleston Creative Arts Elementary, Ms. Carol Smith, selecting “the right book” for a teacher or student is the best part of her job. “Selecting books for a school library is more of a process than most people think. I keep a running record of books students and teachers request. I also search online reading lists and articles to find newly published books and titles that match with our curriculum. Books purchased for school libraries should have positive reviews from well-known, reliable sources. I often use Kirkus, Horn Book, Goodreads, and the School Library Journal.”
Another huge part of the school librarians job is getting students interested in reading, according to Carol. “There are many reading incentive programs in use these days, but over the years I have discovered the best way to get students interested in reading is to just talk to them. Showing students different genre books, providing books that are interesting and are their reading levels, as well as talking to them about what you are reading, encourages students to read. Students crave books when they are presented for them, and not merely assigned to them. After all, who really enjoys reading something someone demands they read?”