My School Librarian Saved Me; Now She Is In Trouble
I had a rough couple of years in primary school. My grade three teacher disliked me (who dislikes an 8-year-old?); she had put me in the lowest reading group and routinely yelled at me for my poor handwriting.
Sounds silly doesn't it? The lowest reading group? But it wasn't silly to me - an avid and advanced reader at the age of eight. She chose to focus on the fact that I couldn't do bubble writing with hearts for dots over the "i" and said I needed help. At best it was demoralizing, at worst it made me loathe school and myself.
The best thing that I can say about my grade four teacher was that she let us listen to "If You Think I'm Sexy" by Rod Stewart while we brushed her long, golden hair.
There was one person who made my life at school better - Miss Stott. She was the school librarian. After I read out the shelves, she gave me new ones to read and review. She pulled me out of class to help her shelve books and stamp cards.
So, it was with genuine sadness I read this report commissioned by the Ontario-based People for Education that librarians are in short supply in Ontario. Almost half of public schools don't have school librarians. They seem to be the first thing that gets cut when budgets get stretched. I don't know if it is the same across the country, but my guess is yes.
My son (who was a late reader) now has a relationship with his librarian that uniquely belongs to them. She helped guide him through his early love for a series based on warring cats, to more sophisticated historical fiction and fantasy. She brings a love of fiction to the school which is contagious to every student - whether they are into picture books or Roman history.
The school librarian provides a consistent relationship for students who have varying relationships with their teachers. School libraries are so much more than storehouses for books. In the modern age, school libraries can be a hub for technology and research as well as books. Librarians are the fixers, the fantasy-makers and the storytellers, they can find the right book for a reluctant reader that can change the way that kid sees themselves and the world.
Luckily, my grade five teacher was thoughtful, engaging and didn't care about bubble writing. He put me in the highest reading group and he still let me go to the library to stamp book returns.
Was there someone at your school who you connected with? Do you think school librarians are important?
Want more chaos? Last year I wrote a post asking if Girl Guides was still relevant.