Up next in our series are school libraries…
Whilst school libraries differ in form and even function around the world, they share a crucial core mission to equip students with life-long learning skills, a love of information, knowledge and reading and prepare them for the information and knowledge driven world in which we live.
UNESCO and IFLA have a joint School Library Manifesto which states:
The school library offers learning services, books and resources that enable all members of the school community to become critical thinkers and effective users of information in all formats and media. School Libraries link to the wider library and information network in accord with the principles in the UNESCO Public Library Manifesto.
The library staff support the use of books and other information sources, ranging from the fictional to the documentary, from print to electronic, both on-site and remote. The materials complement and enrich textbooks, teaching materials and methodologies.It has been demonstrated that, when librarians and teachers work together, students achieve higher levels of literacy, reading, learning, problem-solving and information and communication technology skills.School library services must be provided equally to all members of the school community, regardless of age, race, gender, religion, nationality, language, professional or social status. Specific services and materials must be provided for those who are unable to use mainstream library services and materials.Access to services and collections should be based on the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Freedoms, and should not be subject to any form of ideological, political or religious censorship, or to commercial pressures.
School librarians play a big role in shaping the general public’s relationships with libraries and librarians, as the formative experiences that children have in school libraries can define their love (or not) of libraries for life. Many librarians speak of first being inspired by their school librarians or by serving as a library volunteer as a student.
School libraries take many different forms around the world, some outstanding examples include:
The stunning SEED Library in Johannesburg, created from brightly coloured recycled shipping containers.
The creative and unusual library at Rosendale Primary School Library in London.
Other inspiring school libraries include:
- Safe Haven Orphanage Library in Ban Tha Song Yang, Thailand
- PS 189 Library in Manhattan New York (also mentioned in this great post about school library design.)
So tell us:
- What was your school library like?
- How has your school library experiences shaped your relationship with libraries?
- If you work in a school library, what’s that like? What are the best/worst bits of your job?