Letter: Save our school libraries

Published 12:00 am Monday, May 14, 2018

On Wednesday, N.C. teachers, including those within the Rowan-Salisbury School System, will rally in Raleigh for improved funding and support for public education. Yet we are not supporting our own teachers — our school librarians — locally.

Recently, a Post article showcased school media coordinators, aka school librarians, and how they “are no longer the guardians of knowledge, instead, they’re the guides.”

Yet, this article troubled me, as I realized one school limited books to a nook in the cafeteria! Why reduce the number of books within our schools? In 2015 and 2017 Dr. Moody hosted literacy summits and addressed the need for early literacy and community support.

We have many great programs to improve literacy in Rowan. Jennifer Flynn started efforts for the Campaign for Grade Level Reading. The hospital hands out books to newborns. Doctors’ offices give kids books during check-ups. And Communities in Schools provides tutoring, just to name a few initiatives. Literacy is still a problem in our county.

I am shocked that we are threatening school librarians with the loss of their jobs and reducing the number of books in schools. Yes, Rowan County has an amazing bookstore downtown and a wonderful public library system, but for many kids, those are not options. Schools are their only option.

I have heard the school system wants to reduce librarians, including Cheryl Lange, who won Media Center Coordinator of the Year in 2017, and reduce the size of their libraries. Is the amount saved really worth the cost of our children’s future and the future literacy of Rowan County?

I cannot believe our school board and county commissioners feel this is the right step. In November, I will watch to see which of our candidates realize that Rowan needs to do something before we have a bigger literacy problem.

— Lyn Shinn

China Grove