Noreen Keen teaches at Fairview Community School. The school library received money from the Indigo Love of Reading Foundation. (Photo submitted)

Editorial: School libraries need stocking

As school boards try to manage budget challenges, library bookshelves don’t always get prioritized.

Funding for Fairview Community School library is what we might call a good news story, at least on the surface.

The elementary school received enough funding from the Indigo Love of Reading foundation for an extreme makeover that is filling up the bookshelves.

Unfortunately, not every school library is so well-stocked. As school boards continue to try to manage budget challenges, library bookshelves don’t always get prioritized. It’s a generalization, but school libraries might not have the same supplies or staffing that they had a generation ago.

Schools should have books that kids want to read. If they don’t have storybooks, then students start associating math textbooks with reading, and some of them might develop negative associations with books. It’s easy to see how that could extend to a child’s enthusiasm for school and learning.

There’s an argument that reading material is changing and it is true that stories are being told in other ways than in the past. But we think school libraries and classroom bookshelves still have an important role. Reading results in a kind of thinking and imagining that’s different than what other mediums offer.

Children learn in a lot of ways and there are many who will embrace books and reading, especially if we make it easy for them with well-stocked libraries. They can judge a good book by its cover. So we should do our best to present them with those choices and hopefully develop a generation of discerning readers who become discerning thinkers.

A new B.C. government could have different ideas about education funding, and we will see some of that in the months to come. But it’s a certainty that school district budgets will continue to leave some gaps on the bookshelves, so to speak. There are a number of ways to supplement ministry efforts to support literacy initiatives. We can buy books from – and donate books to – Literacy Central Vancouver Island. We can round up our purchases at Chapter’s for charity. We can support PAC bake sales. Probably it will take all of these things, plus other strategies.

Because much depends on giving kids the right books at the right time.

Just Posted

Province approves city’s process for borrowing $17M for fire hall

Alternative approval process will start April 3

Court date moved for Nanaimo city manager accused of threats

Tracy Samra’s court date now scheduled for next month

Crash in Nanaimo claims man’s life

One man dead after crash in Nanaimo. Police say speed and alcohol are considered factors.

RDN receives funding for flood risk assessment

Regional District of Nanaimo to see $80K from B.C. government and $70K from feds

Safari Jeff brings exotic animal tour to town

Animal enthusiast and educator presenting shows at Nanaimo North Town Centre

Beefs & Bouquets, March 22

To submit a beef or bouquet to the Nanaimo News Bulletin, e-mail

Nanaimo Harbourfront Library set to host third annual GeekCon

Cosplayers, comic book fans and board gamers unite at library

Public warned not to eat herring eggs harvested from French Creek to Qualicum Bay

Island Health reports herring eggs contaminated with vibrio cholerae bacteria

Canada’s Kaetlyn Osmond wins figure skating world title

The 22-year-old fwon the women’s singles crown with her Black Swan routine

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: Judge the NRE on its own merits

Letter writers weigh in on the Nanaimo Recycling Exchange’s closure

Vancouver Island pooches celebrate National Puppy Day

Check out some of the submissions we received from around the region

Alberta tells B.C. to stop opposing pipelines if it doesn’t like gas prices

John Horgan said he would like to see the federal government step in to deal with high gas prices.

Most Read