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The Library as safehouse.

Posted by arlekeno on July 1, 2009

I have been reading lots and lots of journal articles lately about the role of the teacher-librarian, of how libraries can boost student learning outcomes and how town libraries benefit the whole community.

But what I am interested in today is the library as a haven. mainly school libraries but also town libraries as well to an extent. By a haven I mean a place where studetns who don’t feel comfortable anywhere else in a school can come to and feel safe.

in my school in the library we have students who, for many reasons spend almost all their free time in the library. Some of these do so for reasons not of book-loving or study, but for their own well being.

there is a girl with anxiety problems who when she first came to school found the playground frightening, she came every break and was comfortable, formed friendships with other “library nerds” and now is very comfortable in most places around the school.

There are students who have been bullied who find the closer supervision of the library and distance from main culprits very soothing.

Ironically there are even students who would be trouble makers who find the soothing environment and stricter rules keeps them from making trouble.

While Libraries as beacons of learning, safehouses of knowledge etc are wonderful, I think we also need to think how we make school, and life bearable for people who would find it a lot less enjoyable otherwise, and in terms of school, if a student is stressed, bullied or miserable, they wont want to come to school, but if the library can make school bearable, then just by being here we have improved student learning.


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