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Library as Refuge.

Posted by arlekeno on July 18, 2013

I am looking at a lot of articles mentioning the library as a refuge or haven. These links were sent to me by Ian McLean, the Editor of the NSW School Libraries Assoc. Journal, iLeader.

Kevin Jennings.  Librarians make a difference. 

Libraries were a refuge for me in high school as well, but for a different reason. School was a hostile place where I got harassed daily, as four out of five lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) youth do, according to the 2003 Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network National School Climate Survey <>. The school library became my physical and psychic refuge: physical, in that our librarians never permitted harassment of any kind; and psychic, as the books and resources I found there allowed me to escape from the grim reality of my average school day. The library was also the first place I found any information about gay people that was objective and gave me a sense that I might have a future. I probably would not be exaggerating to say libraries saved my life
Perhaps the most surprising of these three major roles of the public library is the library as a beneficial physical environment. Some of the teens who used the library in this way viewed it as a place of refuge, either from a dangerous home or neighborhood environment, or from the higher noise levels of home and of public places.


Professor Dorothy Williams & Caroline Wavell and Louisa Coles

An important, if poorly researched, link can be made between school libraries and
enrichment of the learning experience within the curriculum. Research covering this area
is limited in both the scale and type. Action research contributes important but poorly
documented evidence on specific contributions to particular areas, such as vulnerable
students seeking refuge as volunteer librarians or disadvantaged students, i.e. those
with special needs.

School Libraries 21C:  By Ross Todd and Lyn hay.

Moving from teacher librarian ‘actions’ to student outcomes
Considerable attention was given to specifying the actions undertaken by teacher librarians
presumed to generate learning outcomes, and these encompassed a wide range of instructional
and service initiatives. One respondent summed these up cogently:
Libraries impact on Student learning by: 1. Promote a love of literature and learning. 2.
Provides a calm place for undertaking research. 3. Provides a cross over between technology
and print. 4. Promotes independent research. 5. They can be a place of belonging and a refuge.
6. They back up and support classroom teaching (1B.37).

 and regarding Equity

A pervasive concept was that of safety. The school library provides a safe place, a safe haven
for students (recess/lunch/before school/after school) (1A.43) for learning to work with diverse
and conflicting sources available through the internet, as well as a place for the investigation of
controversial and conflicting topics in safety. According to respondents: The library presents a
real, yet safe environment to explore the expanse of information available (1A.8); have fun, feel safe
and enjoy literature (1A.10); and Some students need the space as a “refuge” and others come into
the space because they “need to be needed” while others get the opportunity to develop leadership
skills through years of mentoring and helping others in the library (1A.9).


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