Ed. Note: Originally posted in April 2016, the significance of abundant, diverse school libraries still holds relevancy today. Libraries are the gatekeepers to cultural, social, and individual growth and must continue acting as an inviting, welcoming development hub for students and teachers.
Today’s guest blog post is by bestselling children’s author Megan McDonald, 2016 Spokesperson for the American Association of School Librarians National School Library Month.
Imagine a school without a library.
A few years back, I was honored to be a visiting author in elementary schools in the state of Florida. After school one day, I was signing books at a table outdoors, because the school did not have a library.
A grandmother waited patiently in line, kids tugging at her. When she reached the table where I was sitting, she held out a well-worn, much-loved copy of my very first book, Is This a House for Hermit Crab?
With tears in her eyes, she told me about the many children, and now grandchildren, she’d taught to read using my book—because it was the one, the only, book they owned at their house.
The school library gave me my start as a reader, and as a writer. It was through my school librarian that I first met Ramona and Homer Price, Laura Ingalls Wilder and Stuart Little, the Melendys and the All-of-a-Kind Family.
Without them, my characters Judy Moody and Stink would not exist.
I want all kids to experience the magic of libraries. I want them to build log cabins out of Popsicle sticks and start their own Independent Saturday Afternoon Adventure Clubs and save the world ala Judy Moody. I want them to grow up to become readers and writers, artists, thinkers, inventors.
But for this to happen, we have to connect kids with books. We have to change lives with books.
First Book is doing just that!
First Book supports educators working in low-income communities with new books and educational resources. By signing up with First Book, school librarians can access affordable, relevant, best-in-class books for all readers, including reluctant readers.
School libraries are the heartbeat of the school. They serve as a resource to all students and support both required and independent reading. They shape lives. Join me in celebrating school libraries and highlighting the important work that school librarians do to transform kids’ learning.
Head for the school library. Seek out a book from First Book.
Anyone working in the lives of kids in need can sign up with First Book at www.firstbook.org/join.