Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Poem #4- When a School Doesn't Have a Librarian

Today is National School Librarian Day, but sadly, my school won't be celebrating. We won't be celebrating because we don't have a school librarian, and haven't for about eight years. Instead we have a paraprofessional, a very nice, well-meaning, hardworking professional. She knows how to use the computer system to check books in and out. She knows how to put books back on the shelf.  She knows how to request books from other schools in the system.

She doesn't, however, know children's literature. She doesn't read blogs to find the best new books. She doesn't know how to do book talks,  or put just the right book into kids' hands. She doesn't celebrate author's birthday or apply for grants. This poem is in honor of school librarians. And in honor of my grandmother, Grace Wolberg, who was a Chicago Public Library librarian for many, many years.

"When a School Doesn't have a Librarian"

When a school
doesn't have a librarian
there is no one to unlock the doors,
push furniture around,
fill showcases and book baskets
brings in games, plants, realia
to create an environment
that says to readers,
"Come in. Explore. Browse. Ask Questions.
This is a place for all things wonderful."

When a school
doesn't have a librarian
there is no one
to peruse catalogues,
read blogs,
scan award winners,
list kids' requests,
reverently unpack new books,
and choose the ones
that sit face outward
as book commercials
to grow readers.

When a school
doesn't have a librarian
there is no one to say,
"You loved Baby Mouse?
Come over here,
there are five more in the series."
And when you are done with those,
you might like the LUNCH LADY series
and after that you might want
to check out
Kate diCamillo's
"Tales from Deckawoo Drive.
And she has books for older kids too."

When a school
doesn't have a librarian,
there is no one to spend time
with that uber reader
who needs a new book every day
or the next Newbery winner
whose stories fill journals
or the budding NASA scientist,
whose insatiable curiosity
can't be satisfied with
normal classroom resources.

When a school
doesn't have a librarian
there is no one to take
that shy little guy
who hasn't yet
hit his reading stride
and say, "I heard you love dinosaurs.
Here is a shelf of dinosaur books.
Choose some
and then come back
for more tomorrow."

When a school
doesn't have a librarian
there is no one to say,
Or "I know things are hard right now.
You might like this new graphic novel,  Real Friends.
Other kids have hated school too. Here's Fish in a Tree. 
Lots of kids go through really hard family situations.
Check out Rules. How to Steal a Dog. Orbiting Jupiter. 
All of those kids made it through hard times.
And you will too.

Every school should have a librarian.

(C) Carol Wilcox, 2018


Cathy said...

Love. This. Every school should have a librarian. You could've taken the perspective of what a librarian brings a school, but by talking about what happens when the librarian isn't there you created a powerful message that spoke well to your point. From the visual image of a physical space without the librarian to the could-be-reader without someone to guide him/her, you had me feeling the loss. Every school should have a librarian.

Carol, I love this series you've started!!!

Mary Lee said...

Amen, amen, AMEN!

Kyle said...

My school is getting rid o f the library next year. It is a disgrace that it the soul of the school is being taken away.

Jean said...

This poem should be read at school board meetings nation wide! Wonderful!!!

Linda B said...

no argument. You've written all the reasons beautifully and made us want to add more and more. Great to hear about your great-grandmother, tragic to hear about the library.