Library

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Recently, school library journals have been fraught with tales of gloom and despair – the libraries are closing. But dig a little deeper, scratch more than the surface, and perhaps we will find that not all school libraries are closing. In fact, the trend suggests that only libraries that are not meeting the updated needs of their students find themselves on the chopping block. Why? The traditional services offered by the traditional school library can no longer be supported under the weight of enormous financial constraints. Although traditional school libraries continue to service students’ basic needs, if libraries are not willing to diversify their services, budget cuts will force school libraries to close because they do not meet the needs of today’s student. Simply put, no one can afford to spend more and get less.

According to a recent American Library Association report (2010), even as school enrollments are increasing, funding for information resources are decreasing, with fewer libraries serving more students. So how do some school libraries continue to flourish and gain importance? By creating progressive hubs for student engagement, ingenuity, diversity, and teamwork and transitioning into media centers, learning commons, information resource centers. But what is really in a name? What is at the heart of the school library? Books? Periodicals? Videos? Yes, yes, and yes. All these resources are housed in the school library, but the library is so much more than that. Alfaro (2009) defines the school library as “…a wealth of information in print and non-print formats categorized to support the knowledge the children will learn in their classrooms, at home, and through first-hand experiences” (p. 30). So how will the libr...

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...effective results. They must utilize available technology, but provide depth and breadth, not just surface-level services.

Abrams (2003) asserts that librarians can “…make a difference over the next five years by understanding what’s coming, learning how it works, seeking key benefits for our students, and becoming the resource in our schools that lifts our learners up to their full potential” (p. 6). It’s actually been almost 10 years since that article was written, and still, a new and challenging development is looming over the library: diversification. This diversity of the library’s workforce, collections, and services offered is beginning to travel outside its current comfortable boundaries and seek to balance actions and obstacles in order to change the way the library does business. The library should “look like” the multicultural world it’s representing.

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