The Future of Libraries in High...

The Future of Libraries in High Schools: More Than Just Books

by Susan Huebert
Jobs People Do | JobsPeopleDo.com

School libraries can be very useful places. If you are researching a subject for a project or want a good book to read, you can probably find what you want in the library. However, high school libraries are about more than just books. Whether you need materials that you do not have at home or need help in putting a project together, high school libraries can be good places to go.

In the past, most libraries in schools had a teacher librarian in charge. Teacher librarians normally had degrees in both education and librarianship to give them the background they needed to help students find materials and to use them in the best possible way. Even now, despite budget cuts in many schools, library staff members are often well prepared to do more than just direct students to a shelf of books.

Many libraries now have a variety of materials for students to use. Computers often have Internet connections, as well as databases on a variety of topics. For example, the History Reference Center is useful especially for American history, but also for other topics. Global Issues in Context is a good place to start for researching current events and the impact that they have on daily life in Canada and the rest of the world.

Some students might wonder why people need libraries or databases when the Internet has most of the information they need. One problem can be finding that information. When a Web search results in a million or more sites to look at, it can be difficult to find the best places to look. For example, a student working on a project dealing with the history of Sweden might retrieve information instead on cooking or sports. Using a library database or books on the country is likely to help students focus on the information they need.

Periodicals can also be good sources of information. Magazines like Maclean’s have information about Canadian politics and current issues, and magazines directed specifically towards teenagers deal with issues that are important for that age group.

Reliability is another question. Although books and databases can also be unreliable, they have at least gone through an editing and selection process that can help to make them a reliable source of information. The librarian and other school staff have also likely chosen what they consider to be the best options among the various materials available to them. The Internet, in contrast, is largely unregulated and can have very unreliable information.

Education is about much more than just learning facts about history, English literature, or science. It is also about learning skills that people need later in life. For example, a history project can teach students organizational skills in addition to the facts about Confederation in Canada or the ancient pharaohs of Egypt. A good school library should have study guides or staff to help students learn the skills they need for researching a subject or putting information together clearly and concisely.

Many schools have made substantial cuts to school libraries to help deal with tight budgets and limited resources. However, students can still find many good resources and use their school libraries to learn important skills for the future.



Canadian School Library Journal. “Future of the School Library Learning Commons.” https://journal.canadianschoollibraries.ca/future-of-the-school-library-learning-commons/.

Ex Libris. “Three Trends Shaping the Future of Libraries.” https://www.libraryjournal.com/story/three-trends-future.

The Hamilton Spectator. “More Than Just Books: Libraries Are Important Social Hubs, New Report Finds.” https://www.thespec.com/news/canada/more-than-just-books-libraries-are-important-social-hubs-new-report-finds/article.

Knapp, Maggie. “Just for Reference: Must-Have Databases for School Research.” https://www.slj.com/story/must-have-databases-for-school-research.

Lynch, Matthew. “Libraries of the Future: Where Trends are Taking K-12 Public School Libraries.” https://www.theedadvocate.org/libraries-of-the-future-where-trends-are-taking-k-12-public-school-libraries/.

Leave a comment!