“What a school thinks about its library is a measure of what it feels about education.” ― Harold Howe
This quote ran through my mind when a friend of mine took a job at a school with no library. At least, no library in any form you would recognize. They had a media center, which is what our school library was called when I was a kid. It's just that the "media" at Horrell Hill Elementary School included, well, books. My friend taught, briefly, at a school that had no books in the library.
There were no books to speak of in the entire school. It sounded, to me, like a dystopian fantasy novel, but it was not that. It was just a middle school in South Carolina. A middle school based on iPads. Not even many actual computers. iPads were the status quo.
Now, I love my Kindle. I like my iPad, but I don't read on it. I spend enough time with backlit screens as it is. I read on my Kindle some and I read paper books some. It's according to how I can get the book cheapest, whether I want to take notes, if I need to pass it on, etc... So, I am a-ok with utilizing ebooks. But... no paper books at all?
Part of my love of learning was born from my love of books. Well before I could read, I liked books. I agreed to learn my alphabet if my older brother would let me have one of his old school books. I think my mom still has the book, even. It was an anthology of stories. I learned my alphabet in about ten minutes, as soon as he sealed the deal. Then I held my hand out for the book.
It was blue. It had a beat up cardboard cover. It felt like heaven in my hands.
If you want to know what I feel about education, look at my shelves. I feel like I am always giving away books, but the shelves still overflow. My kids know I will buy them books. I might say no to video games and sports equipment, but I'm a sucker for, "Mom, I really want the new Warriors novel."
A school without books?