“Are books becoming extinct in public schools?” That was the first question I asked myself when I entered a high school library. I walked in, and for approximately a school of six hundred students, the library may have had two hundred books.
The craziest part of the library to me was that they didn’t have a computer program for checking books in and out of the library. It was so rare, that the librarian would either hand write down the book that was being checked out, and who was checking out the book. Sometimes the librarian would only tell the student to take the book, and not even ask which book he or she was taking.
Apparently, the last librarian only believed in eBooks, so she decided to stop updating the program they had. Now, the librarian and I are working on creating a new program, since the old program is obsolete.
Also, the school no longer uses actual textbooks, only eBooks which is why the old librarian stopped concerning herself with any books. Although they use eBooks, they still come in to check out books to use for research, so I have learned how to use the handwritten ledger in the case a student needs a book.
Thankfully the school system provides each student with their own laptop, but not all students respect the technology they are given. The library media specialist and I work all day on troubleshooting, and fixing computers for the students. For example: I had one child bring in their computer stating, “I don’t know why it won’t work,” but the reason it didn’t work is that the whole screen had fallen off.
Since most students take the responsibility of having their own computers so poorly, I believe the school needs to use paper books more often. The biggest problem though, is that they have such a little amount of books. Many of the teachers do not like the textbooks because some of the books are older editions, but the teachers that do use paper textbooks seem to be more productive within the classroom since the students always have their textbooks available. It seems that the students have decided if they do not bring their computer chargers to school, and their computers die, then they will no longer have to do work. That is why I believe paper books are more necessary in the classroom.
Books are an important part of school because they will use them throughout their lifetime. Many of the students do not know how to use the index of a book because they can search for what they need instead of looking through the pages. The lack of books seem to be more of a problem in the high schools than elementary schools, or middle schools.
Thankfully, the younger students still use paper books, so as someone that is new to the high school system, my goal is to help students realize how important it is to understand a paper book, and not just an eBook.
Hopefully, by the end of the school year, the new library program will be up and running which will encourage students to check out more books, and the school will realize that new books are needed in the libraries. Eventually, I hope to have a library filled with all kinds of books. Although technology is an important resource, I hope the students understand how important paper books actually are.