The Role of School Libraries in...

The Role of School Libraries in Fostering Reading in Ontario

by Susan Huebert
Jobs People Do | JobsPeopleDo.com

Most people read, whether for school assignments, work, or recreation. School libraries can have an important role in fostering, or encouraging, reading in Ontario.

Reading is everywhere, from learning how to make a recipe to finding information about animals, countries, people, or all kinds of subjects. Even mathematics problems require the ability to read, since students must know what to add, subtract, multiply, or divide before solving the problem. Every course involves at least some reading, besides the classes such as language arts that depend entirely on reading.

Improving your reading is very important for whatever you choose to do in the future. At some point, you will probably need books or other resources that are not available at your home. Often, libraries have the money and space to get materials that might be too expensive for families to buy, such as the most recent edition of an encyclopedia or a dictionary. For students, school libraries are the best places to look for these types of materials.

School libraries have several advantages over public libraries. One of the most important benefits is that school libraries usually have a teacher librarian in charge. Teacher librarians are people who have training in both education and librarianship. That helps them to understand how to help students find the information they need for their projects and assignments.

Research has shown a connection between school libraries with professional staff and how well students learn and complete their work. School libraries can be very useful even without professional staff, but it helps to have people who know both the teaching and librarianship sides of the work.

Suppose that a student came into the library and asked for information on France or Spain. A teacher librarian might know the exact topics that the student is studying and be able to find the right materials. A student in a cooking class might need French or Spanish recipes, but another one might want language learning materials or history books. A teacher librarian is also likely to know the student’s level of reading and to be able to find materials that are challenging but not too difficult.

Another advantage of school libraries is that they are convenient for students. If you and your friends want to meet there to work on a project, you can do that more easily than at a library across the city. That way, you are more likely to use it more often than if you must travel far to get to the library.

Most school libraries have a mixture of fiction and nonfiction materials. Fiction is good for practicing your reading skills, but it can also be useful for teaching you about people and the world. Even joke books can be good for teaching students about the hidden meanings of words or just for relaxation. Other forms of information or entertainment can also be helpful for building vocabulary or for encouraging people to learn how to analyze language, to see hidden meanings, and to understand others better.

School libraries might seem old-fashioned in the age of the Internet, but they have useful resources and can be helpful for students of all ages. If you haven’t already gone to your school’s library, you should visit it soon.



Ameline, Judy; Judy Chyung; and Emily Thompson. “Structured Literacy and the Science of Reading.” https://journal.canadianschoollibraries.ca/structured-literacy-and-the-science-of-reading/

People for Libraries. “Libraries.” https://peopleforeducation.ca/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/P4E-libraries-2016.pdf.

Ontario Library Association. “Exemplary School Libraries in Ontario.” https://accessola.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/2006-Exemplary-School-Libraries-in-Ontario.pdf.

Ontario Library Association. “School Library Advocacy.” https://accessola.com/school-library-issues/.

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