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How the public library can support quality education
Transcript of How the public library can support quality education
Taking these issues into consideration, the answer to how public libraries can support quality education lies in their ability to partner with school systems to discover innovative ways to work together to address these issues.
The decrease in the amount and quality of reading material used by students in higher grades
The need for technology in schools
How do we encourage reading in teens without making reading a chore?
The increasing diversity of students
Researchers from the Manhattan Institute Center for Civic Information found that
32% of students leave high school academically prepared for college! (Long)
The generalized failure of the system to produce college-ready students
How can public libraries support quality education?
How can school staff and library staff work together to best address the chosen issue?
How can we best help them prepare for the future?
The explosive growth of elementary and secondary school populations
How can we incorporate technology?
Teens: Their Future and College Readiness
Ensure that the teen area includes computers, computer stations, and adequate seating for group technology activities. Offer teen training on specific software that would be needed in college, such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and the various search engines. How to find and evaluate scholarly sources would be a useful class that could be coordinated and offered at local schools.
Sponsor technology activities such as Robotics and Teen Tech Week as well as teaching technology and internet safety. Math and science activities could coordinate with local science and math fairs and competitions. These areas are vital for college success.
Offer programs on using technology in ways teens might not know such as learning how to DJ music with a computer or learning about digital photography or graphic design. These programs would target students with a particular degree interest in the arts. School counselors could refer students to the programs.
Provide library materials in digital formats for various types of technology (tablets), particularly research materials like pathways and research guides in e-book format.
Offer programming that will help students bridge from from high school to college.
A variety of programs could be offered that prepare students for the drastic difference between high school and college: surviving in college; avoiding drugs, alcohol, and overload; choosing courses and being self-motivated; becoming a leader among peers; developing good study habits; getting involved on campus, being aware of scam schools, responsibility with financial aid, and much more.
Coordinate with local colleges and universities to offer high school students tours of campus.
Provide a 10-week summer bridge program that reviews math through algebra.
Provide a 10-week summer program that reviews all English from basic grammar to expository essay formats.
Allow teens to participate in making decisions regarding their future. Having a written plan along with pairing the student with an adult mentor increases teen college readiness by 54% (Long). Library staff and volunteers could help teens with designing their future and providing information on how to reach their goals. This would include technical training for those not planning to attend college.
Offer workshops on career guidance and educational options.
Supply materials and offer programs on choosing and financing higher education. College fairs and job fairs could coincide. Between the high school, the library, the college, and community businesses; these could be highly successful affairs.
Offer GED, SAT, ACT, and technical program practice tests. Offer unofficial remediation placement exams to assess college readiness.
Ensure that the library’s website addresses the career and educational needs of teens.
Texas has seen a significant increase in the number and percentage of economically disadvantaged students in public schools. In the 1996-97 school year, about 1.8 million students, or 48.1 percent of all Texas students, were identified as economically disadvantaged (Strauss).
Abuse, neglect, health issues, and cultural conflicts continue to plague Texas schools.
The Texas Education Agency reports that 127 languages are spoken by the state’s school children (Texas).
Stories to Our Children
Lee y Serás
Life through Literacy
Variety of programs.
Of course, it would not be feasible to address every issue at once, but by taking small steps the library can eventually make a big difference. Hence the saying, How do you eat an elephant?
One bite at a time!
What do they need to succeed?
First we have to ask the right questions, those that address the known issues.
What skills are they lacking in regards to being ready for college?
Growing Population: How Many New Students Can Texas Expect?. (2013). Retrieved December 18, 2013,
Long, B. (2009). Remediation at the college level: Who needs it, and does it help? Harvard Graduate School
of Education. Retrieved December 18, 2013, http://www.uknow.gse.harvard.edu/leadership/
Singletary, M. (2012). Teens: know how your college degree will affect your future. Retrieved
December 18, 2013, from http://yourteenmag.com/2012/05/college-degrees/
Strauss, V. (2013). The Real 21st-century problem in public education. Retrieved
December 18, 2013, http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2013/10/
Texas in Focus: A Statewide View of Opportunities. (2013). Retrieved December 18, 2013,
The State Data Center estimates that the public elementary and secondary school population will grow by about 900,000 between 2010 and 2040 (Texas).
By supporting and supplementing quality education, the library, while partnering with public schools, can help local students become whatever they want to be.