How do we stop our school libraries from dying?! HELP! (And please pardon the rant!)

I had a very interesting discussion with a wonderful Librarian this morning about the perception of school libraries and how more and more teachers are refraining from bringing their kids in to the library to check out books.  Why is this??  The teachers are not necessarily letting the kids read books on their personal devices, so does this mean the teachers aren't letting them read at all?!  Or are we force feeding them certain books (and then wondering why they hate to read?!).  Have you walked into a secondary classroom while kids are reading ... in desks ... sitting straight up ... is that how YOU like to read?!

The Librarian then told me of an interesting experiment she did ... she took a box of books to the ISS room and asked the ISS teacher if he'd let the kids read when they finished their work.  He told her, "I'M not going to MAKE those kids read!"  (Well, there it is ... can we please STOP 'MAKING' the kids read?!)  The Librarian told him he didn't have to do anything, just make the books available.

Guess what happened?!?!

The VERY NEXT DAY two girls were arguing over one of the books!  Kids were asking the Librarian to hold books until after the break so they could finish reading them!

AMAZING!  Who knew?!?!

Steve Gardiner (Building Student Literacy Through Sustained Silent Reading) says:
The theory behind sustained silent reading is that if students read more and enjoy it more, they will become better readers, the same theory that drives the basketball player to stand at the free-throw line after practice each day and shoot 100 free throws. By the end of the season, he will be a better shooter, whether he has direct instruction or not. While practicing shooting, he will apply what he learns each day to the next day's practice. Readers are the same.
WOW!  I find that very powerful.  Are we giving kids ample time for sustained silent reading in class?  Are we harnessing the power of our school libraries and taking full advantage of our school librarians?

What are you doing to help keep the libraries in your school or district alive?  I would LOVE to hear your ideas, especially for secondary!


  1. I have to make my reader put his book down so he can do his chores.

    1. WOW Mike - that's awesome! How old? I fear that by the time they leave Elem school that passion might be distinguished. :(


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