Headlines about school library closures break my heart. It is impossible for me to imagine a school without a library. Besides the classroom, it is the hub of information, where one person (or a few) has the skills to not only help you find what you are looking for, but shows you how to look for it. The recent announcement about two school library closures in Ontario hits home that this hub of information will be lost to students.
My librarian taught me the importance of research, that fact checking, critical reading and understanding where you get the information is about as important as the information itself. My librarian was like a magician, using his mystical fingers to search on computer databases and index cards, pointing me to undiscovered lands of enchantment.
Students in Windsor understood this as they staged a protest this morning telling their school board that they didn’t want to see their library closed. Reading how these students feel about their librarians, it is clear that although the technology might have changed since I was in High School, the need for librarians and libraries hasn’t.
Besides writing your local M.P.P. (and M.P.) there is another thing that we can do to take action and help school libraries stay open across the country. The Indigo Love of Reading Foundation is dedicated to funding schools so they can buy the books they need to promote literacy across Canada. This June, they will be announcing their next round of grants. (I have yet to sit through listening to one of these phone calls, or watch the documentary Writing on the Wall, without weeping). This next $1.5 million will bring the total funds donated by the foundation to $10.5 million to 110 schools since 2004.
Right now, at your local Chapters or Indigo branch, employees are starting the 2011 Adopt a School program, where each store selects their adopted school for the September fundraising campaign. Next time you are in one of our stores, ask one of our employees which school they are raising money for. You never know, it could be the one in your very own backyard. In this little way, we can hope to keep school libraries open, librarians working, and most of all, our children reading.