Are libraries becoming a thing of the past? I’ve been working with our head librarian over the last couple of years to decide on what resources would support the French Immersion program in our school and quite frankly, we’re having difficulty coming up with anything. Everything students need can be found on-line these days. Our library was subscribing to several French magazines, which I had our librarian cancel. The students aren’t looking at them, so it’s a waste of money. The only reading they do is the reading they need to do for their classes, so I’ve only added a few extra novels to the collection over the last couple of years. They ask me if I’d like DVDs. Well, I’d rather have the DVD at my disposal in my department rather than have to go to the library to get it.
Students are coming to the library:
1. to print out their assignments
2. to do research on the computer
3. quiet study
When classes are brought down to the library, they use the computers. The book carts, generally speaking, remain empty. No one is looking at the stacks of books we have. It breaks my heart.
I love books. I love the feeling of opening the pages, sitting on the couch by the fireplace and relaxing with a good book. I don’t think I’d have that same cozy feeling using an iPad! (I’m not knocking iPads…my house looks like an Apple store: iMacs, Macbook, iPod, iPhones, Apple TV…I’m just itching for an iPad!)
When I bring my classes down, I go to the stacks, find the books that my students need and literally put the book in their hands. They won’t do it otherwise. It’s just sad to see that the library has just become another computer lab.
What will become of our libraries and librarians, our greatest support for student literacy, French or otherwise? It will be interesting to see how technology will affect school libraries over the next decade.