Hammond's decision to fire its school librarians shows the city's lack of commitment to education. This decision will have negative consequences for our students for years to come: a Stanford University (report) shows that more than 80% of middle schoolers cannot tell the difference between an ad and a real news article.
But libraries aren't just about research papers and homework: They give students new perspectives. Libraries help kids who are persecuted or marginalized, or who are exposed to trauma, a lifeline out of a bad situation. Through books, children realize they are not alone with their struggles.
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Just as a hospital is more than a collection of surgical instruments, a library is more than a collection of books. I've seen well-meaning volunteers kill the love of reading for young people, trying to force books as medicine. We need qualified school librarians to nurture intellectual curiosity and the love of reading.
Mary Schons, Hammond