Libraries

How to Diversify a Classroom Library

As protests against racial injustice spread to communities large and small in this year, many educators have been pushed to examine how systemic racism harms students. Some have publicly proclaimed the steps they will take to create anti-racist schools, including diversifying classroom and library bookshelves. That task may be easier than ever, thanks to six years of advocacy by the We Need Diverse Books campaign. “There’s no excuse for the books in your classroom and…

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How Harry Potter Changed Children’s Literature

No one can deny the concrete and long-lasting effect the Harry Potter series has had on the world of children’s literature. Last summer marked the 25th anniversary of the release of the famous books in the United States. The first book of the series was released in England in June 1997 under the title “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone,” and on Sept. 1, 1998, Scholastic published the first book in the U.S., renamed “Harry…

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American Library Association Summer Reading Lists

Summer is finally here, and so are the American Library Association summer reading lists. The lists are full of book titles to keep children engaged in reading throughout the summer. Four summer reading lists are available for birth-preschool and grades K-2, 3-5, and 6-8. Each list is available to download for free. Titles on the 2023 Summer Reading Lists were compiled and annotated by members of American Library Association’s Quicklists Consulting Committee. American Library Association…

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Building Culturally Relevant Libraries

When we think about the school library as a place where reading communities begin and are nurtured, we have to remember that a school is a place where many students do not inherently feel welcome. Historically speaking, school systems have sometimes been an instrumental part of systems of colonization and indoctrination, and culturally relevant libraries are not something everyone has access to. The tendency to demonize the unique parts of us that make us individuals,…

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Here’s Why Your Town Library Should Hire a Social Worker

In any given community, the public library is one of the most important buildings. The library plays many roles, providing space, resources, and programming, with its doors open to all. In certain cities across the U.S., about three dozen libraries and systems currently have a social worker on staff. This number is growing as communities report the positive effects of having on-staff social workers. Libraries can often be a safe place for children and adults…

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Frequently Banned Books Everyone Should Read

Banned books aren’t exactly a new concept, but the scope and frequency of them certainly seem to have exploded in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. School systems, teachers, parents, and political activists battle over the specifics of education in America, from the opening of schools and quarantine protocols around the country to the in-class discussion of potentially controversial topics like systemic racism and prejudice. Yet these are all precisely the sort of complex societal…

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Levels of Banned Books Skyrocket in the US

Attacking books has been an American tradition since 1650, when Puritans in the Massachusetts Bay Colony seized William Pynchon’s “The Meritorious Price of Our Redemption,” labeling it blasphemous for saying obedience, and not suffering, led to atonement. In 1885, “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” was banned for “coarse language” (and much later for the use of the n-word). “On the Origin of Species,” probably the most influential book ever banned, was censored in 1895 for…

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13 Ways Schools Can Promote Literacy Through Independent Reading

In the age of modern literacy, independent reading and student choice can easily take a back seat to having students take on more challenging texts. Motivation and choice play key roles in successful literary programs, however, and strong readers are those who read a wide variety of genres and text types. In the quest to build capable readers, promoting independent, self-selected reading remains key. Creating ravenous, lifelong readers doesn’t just happen; it takes a school-wide…

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How Students Can Find Reliable Sources Online Using 3 Simple Steps

In the era of fake news and Internet misinformation, ensuring that students know how to find reliable sources of information online is essential. Thanks to the relative ease of creating and sharing content online, students are confronted with publications created solely to entertain, persuade, and incite via incorrect or incomplete statistics. Students diving into the world of academic and professional-level research often have no awareness of the gaps in their understanding when it comes to performing…

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Does Your Child Hate Reading? Do This to Make Them Love It

For many families, reading is a pleasurable activity when kids are young, but then as kids get older, they start to hate reading. Parents are more aware than ever that strong reading skills are fundamental to academic success. Teachers also feel pressure to make sure students are reading on or above grade level, often with their evaluations and salaries hanging in the balance. On top of it all, kids may be quick to claim they…

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