Why School Libraries:
In the school library field, there are numerous studies which demonstrate that school library is integral to the educational process. The study by Dr. Ken Haycock, Director of the SLIS at San Jose State University shows that students, who attend schools with well-funded, properly-stocked libraries managed by qualified teacher-librarians, have higher achievement, improved literacy and greater success at the post-secondary level.
“In research done in nine states in the U.S and over 3300 schools since 1999, the positive impact of the school library program is consistent. They make a difference in academic achievement. If you were setting out a balanced meal for a learner, the school library media program would be part of the main course, not the butter on the bread.” (Lance and Loertscher, 2003)
Access to books is critical to ending illiteracy. “The evidence is there for all to see,” says Dr. Haycock. “That’s why governments in the U.S., Europe and Asia are aggressively investing in their school libraries. “Nearly every public school in Bucks, Delaware, and Montgomery Counties has a library with certified staff, which has been proven to increase student reading and comprehension,” notes Kintisch.
School Libraries Worldwide:
In USA, in 2012-13, there were about 13, 500 school districts with nearly 98, 500 public schools. In 2008, Number of school libraries in USA was 81, 920 and total users were 48, 700, 000.
In New Zealand, in the year 2015, total Schools were 2538 while number of School libraries was 2600 in the year 2001.
In Australia, in 2013, there were 9, 393 schools in Australia (Australian Bureau of Statistics) while in 2009, number of school libraries was 9, 000 (Almost in all schools).
In 2009, there were about 40, 639 school libraries in Japan. In Thailand, there were 32, 370 school libraries in year 2009.
The picture in Pakistan, however, is grim. ‘There are 1, 63, 000 public primary schools in Pakistan’ (UNESCO). And the total number of school libraries is 7, 000 (IFLA world report, 2010). In Sindh, Number of total public Schools having facility of libraries was 602 only while number of schools without facility of libraries was 48, 312 (School education statistics Sindh by District 2010-11), resultantly, the student achievement suffers without having adequate reading resources. What’s disturbing is that policy-makers of Pakistan always ignored the findings of literally decades of research that shows why school libraries and qualified teacher-librarians are essential components in the academic programming of any school.
Research has shown that increasing access to books and giving children the choice to choose what they want to read improves academic performance and attitudes toward reading and learning. By making books available to those from low-income communities before achievement gaps emerge, we have the opportunity to level the playing field.
Now is the time to support reading in our communities and work to get books into the hands of disadvantaged children across the country and encourage children to read daily when those without access to books are at increased risk of falling behind their peers.
Read Pakistan has developed/ designed this initiative of “100, 000 School Libraries” by affirming intellectual freedom and the rights of all children to access library services and resources on an equitable basis regardless of age, race, gender, religion, nationality, language or social status. Quality books and reading material is provided for those who are unable to use mainstream library services and materials.