Statistics and Reports
Why School Libraries?
Transformational stories about school libraries in Aotearoa.
James Year 10
James (not real name) is a big lad, he is Year 10.
James spends every morning and lunch time in the library. He lounges all over the ottomans and tries really hard to keep his big feet off them, but somehow he never manages. Sometimes James just walks around the library - he looks agitated, like one of those polar bears in a zoo. You can tell he is agitated, but he knows, in our library, he is safe.
James loves to read, Manga comics mostly, but he will charge through Cherub books as well. Books are safe places for James.
He doesn't speak much, but I know he understand what I say, because he reads a lot; those two things go together.
The library is a safe place for James. He knows in here, even if he paces, I will look after him and if he throws a beanbag, I will make sure the duty teacher understands and shows kindness.
James is on the spectrum, and for him our school library is a place to read, to be safe, to be understood and now, to find friends.
Our school library has transformed James and made school for him not just survivable, but likable.
Imagine what a school without a library would be like for James....
Marcus Year 3
I work with a Year 3 lad (let's call him Marcus) who comes from the most amazing, supportive family with multiple siblings. He was adopted by the family and so has some issues that he deals with on a daily basis.
He wears his heart on his sleeve and you can tell what kind of mood he is in by looking at him. If things aren't going well he walks around with a black cloud over his head.
Oftentimes he arrives at the Library for his weekly class session with said black cloud looming - but I am always confident in the knowledge that as soon as we settle for a story he will come around. You can almost see the transformation - from defiant, grumpy and over-demonstrative, through sulky and pretending to not be interested, to active engagement and participation.
Books - and by default Libraries - do that.
Marcus is lucky enough to come from a family who values books. He understands that the Library is his safe place and that he can come in when he needs to. How wonderful for him - and his mental health.
But what about the students who DON'T have a Library and a Librarian on hand? It doesn't bear thinking about.