Ok, I'm not going to rant about this anymore because there is another piece to this post. The same week that they announced the proposed closing of a library branch, I received my Educational Leadership journal in the mail (yes even though I can get this stuff through the Educators Collection on the Knowledge Ontario Professional databases, I still love the paper copies). The theme of this issue was Poverty and Learning. On the cover sits a young (about 9 or 10) girl with a book. In the journal, there is an article called "Got Books?" written by Richard Allington and Anne McGill-Franzen, two professors from the University of Tennessee. Basically, their study concluded that increasing summer reading can prevent low-income children from losing ground during summer vacation. How did they find this out? Well, what they did was provide books to students over the summer - they mailed a new book a week to the child (and asked that they return it when they got back to school in the fall). Neat idea.
What was key to a significant increase in reading achievement? ACCESS TO BOOKS!!! No kidding! Did we need another study for this? Haven't teacher librarians and library researchers like Haycock and Todd been saying this for years. Don't we have numerous studies that connect access to superior book collections in libraries with increased reading scores?
And yet, libraries both in the community and in schools continue to be first on the chopping block. If school system and communities and governments say we value literacy and a literate citizen then why do we keep cutting libraries????
We need to practice what we preach as educators and as citizens. As one California parent put it after they had to fund raise to actually pay the teachers in their school: "Our nation chooses to bail out investment houses rather than insuring our children." Are we headed down the same slope?