This week the “For the Love of Reading” conference is celebrating National Library Week. And who loves reading more than librarians? Librarians are no longer just keepers of books, but a valuable instructional resource — a co-partner in teaching students skills in information-gathering, critical thinking, and evaluation.
Last week a friend came over to my house for some help with her research. I got her into one of the university’s databases and had to leave to answer the door. When I returned there was my 13-year-old daughter explaining boolean logic to her like it was her native language! “The more terms you enter, the more narrow your search will be,” she said…and on and on. I secretly wished that having a librarian mom was the reason she was so well versed in research lingo, but unfortunately it was not. “Where in the world did you learn all that?” I asked. “Mrs. D taught us,” she said as she zipped out of the room.
Mrs. D., her librarian from elementary school, was a “partner in crime” with the teachers for school projects and papers. She didn’t just sit behind a desk and check out books. She was a librarian on the move, working alongside teachers to educate students in information literacy, literature and loving to read.
How can we as parents and educators support libraries and librarians’ efforts to instill a love of reading in our children? The American Library Association offers these tips:
- Get to know your school librarian. Ask what the needs are and how you can help. Donations of books and equipment such as computers and video players may be welcome. Offer to volunteer your time.
- Join the Friends of the Library, a support group of volunteers who provide fundraising and other assistance. If there is no group, offer to start one.
- Help your child be school ready. Enroll your preschool child in story-hours and other programs at the public library. Make sure your child has a library card and knows how to use it. Read together with your child. Research shows that children who are read to in the home do better in school.
- Be a role model. Let your child see you reading at home. Help your child explore new technology. Many school and public libraries make computers available for public use. Feel free to ask for assistance.
- Support legislators who support libraries and education. Let them know you think the two go together and should be a high priority.
Posted by Kim Rollins. Kim has a Masters of Library and Information Science degree from Brigham Young University and is a librarian at Utah Valley University.