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How to start a school library

Has your school's library suffered setbacks - or even closure? Here's how parents can pull together to start, save, or revive this crucial academic resource.

By Psyche Pascual

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Saving your system

If libraries are the foundation of any good school, it’s one full of cracks: School library funding dropped an average of 9 percent (and up to 25 percent in poorer areas of the country) between 2009 and 2010, according to the most recent national survey of school libraries.

These are gloomy statistics, but even as government funding has failed, parents and community leaders have rallied to keep school libraries in circulation — sometimes even relaunching them after they were closed.

In the face of so many education cuts, why save the library? In a thriving school library you’ll find kids conducting research, learning how to use a computer, discovering books, or being enthralled by storytelling. “Reading develops imaginations and creativity,” says Jill Curcio, a parent who started a school library at her kids’ elementary school in Los Altos, CA. “This is what I want for our kids. I want their imaginations to grow.”