A Surprising Number Of Boston Public Schools Don't Have Functioning Libraries

October 25, 2016

Reading time at Tiajuana Slade’s Roxbury home is something she takes seriously.

“That reading is a must, it’s a must.”

She takes her 2 kids to the public library weekly, and that’s the only library they see because their school doesn’t have a working library.

“They have a library they just don’t have access.”

Slade says her kids who are in 4th and 6th grade at the Curley K-8 in Jamaica Plain haven’t been able to use the school library in years because she says there’s no one to manage it.

“The school has a library they're just getting a librarian this year.”

73 schools in Boston out of 126 do not have a working library. 

That’s something Boston Public Schools says it’s trying to change. BPS said in a statement,

In September, the Boston School Committee approved the BPS library services strategic plan, which outlines priorities to provide each student with equitable access to central learning commons and a library at their school by 2021.

Part of the plan calls for 15 libraries to be added by next May.

Melanie Kimball, an associate professor of Library and Information Science at Simmons College believes libraries and librarians are a crucial part of a student’s formative years.

“I’m incredibly worried about the fact that in fact it's the younger students that are not having access b.c they're not being sort of trained up in the idea of even going to a library.”

Kimball added,

“First of all everything is not on google and even if it was you'd still need someone to teach you how to be discerning about what you're using. Librarians are the people who are going to teach children not only to research but to analyze and synthetize the information that they find.”

Tiajuana Slade says the school department needs to follows through with its plan.

“Because it they're not learning how to read at home or at school how are they going to pass school to do something with their selves later and that’s a big problem so hopefully they will step up and do what they have to do for the system for these kids.”

Slade says she and other parents will be paying close attention.

 


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