Libraries are vital to student success

The importance of libraries cannot be understated. Thousands of students across the state use libraries as a quiet haven to study, conduct research and to collaborate with their fellow classmates.

Taking that away from any student would be devastating to their academic success.

Neil Gaiman, a bestselling author, is an avid reader, writer and supporter for local libraries and their well-being.

“Libraries are about freedom. Freedom to read, freedom of ideas, freedom of communication. They are about education (which is not a process that finishes the day we leave school or university), about entertainment, about making safe spaces, and about access to information,” Gaiman said in a Guardian article.

Libraries are not just a place to find dusty old books, and many students rely on the library for internet and computer access when they have no way of accessing these resources at home.

Libraries and librarians are vital for the success of future college students.

One of the most important factors of school libraries are the librarians in them that assist students with whatever help they need.

Budget cuts in the Los Angeles School District have resulted in those schools having to lay off hundreds of library aides.

Students would not be able to conduct their research for their school projects as well as they could have if they had a librarian helping them through the process.

School librarians are a direct link to improved standardized reading test scores and “studies conducted over the past two decades, both in Colorado and nationwide, show that students in schools with endorsed librarians score better on standardized achievement tests in reading, compared with students in schools without endorsed librarians,” according to the Library Research Service.

Scholastic Corporation, an American book publishing company known for publishing education material for schools and teachers, found that “over the past 20 years, numerous studies have shown that elementary schools with at least one full-time certified teacher-librarian performed better on state tests. In a 2010 study conducted in Colorado, more children scored ‘proficient’ or ‘advanced’ in reading in schools with a full-time, credentialed librarian than those without.”

While the budget cuts have not affected high schools, only elementary and middle schools, it is during the first stages of education where it is the most vital to make sure students learn to love education.

The thousands of books available in school libraries are a good way to ensure that happens.

“Albert Einstein was asked once how we could make our children intelligent. His reply was both simple and wise. ‘If you want your children to be intelligent,’ he said, ‘read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.’ He understood the value of reading, and of imagining. I hope we can give our children a world in which they will read, and be read to, and imagine, and understand,” Gaiman said.

Libraries are a fundamental reason for why students succeed. Prioritizing libraries in terms of school budgets is detrimental to the schools and its students.

Budgets should prioritize funding for libraries and librarians as they provide crucial assistance to students on the path to college.

About Michael Chen

Michael Chen is a staff writer from the Spring 2014 COMM 471 class.