Columns > Published on April 4th, 2023

For National School Librarian Day, Let's Show Our Appreciation

Original image by Oleksandr Pidvalnyi

If you’ve ever wished you could thank a school librarian, today’s the day: it’s National School Librarian Day. School librarians are essential, important members of kids and young adults’ educational careers. They not only research appropriate books for their schools; they also make sure those books are kept in good condition and ready to be loaned out to students. They teach kids important lessons on literacy and how to research. They’re an extra adult figure in kids’ lives to help them as they develop into the adults they’ll one day be.

Especially in 2023, it’s vitally important to recognize and support school librarians. In 2022, there were more than 2,500 attempted book bans in U.S. schools, and according to an NPR article, those numbers are likely to go up in 2023. The people on the front lines of the banned book battles raging across the nation are none other than school librarians.

They face threats not just from outside agitators (parents, yes, but also a lot of non-parental groups that are political actors), but also from internal pressure to self-censor. The fear of having to face down a book challenge can be hard to ignore; it’s worse in states where legislatures are actively criminalizing books in libraries.

Anyone can learn to see themselves, see others, and step into new understandings of themselves by reading books.

School librarians are crucial. They provide a safe space for kids and teens to learn about themselves and about the world. An oft-quoted philosophy coined by Dr. Rudine Sims Bishop calls books “mirrors, windows, and sliding glass doors,” and indicates that anyone can learn to see themselves, see others, and step into new understandings of themselves by reading books. This is especially important for school-aged children, who are developing into the adults who will one day run this country.

Books give them the chance to develop empathy and understanding, to see the world in new ways, to put themselves in others’ shoes within the safety of their imagination. And school librarians? Well, they’re the ones giving kids the keys to these reading castles.

So today, on National School Librarian Day, why don’t we show some support for these incredible people? You can write a letter or phone a school administrator to let them know what a librarian has done that you’ve liked — did they have a Black History Month or Women’s History Month display recently? Did they introduce children to LGBTQ+ stories that meant the world to them? Did they introduce a young loved one to a new piece of nonfiction that changed their world? Thank them — but don’t just thank them, thank their bosses, too.

For a bigger step, you can go to a school board meeting and profess your gratitude there. You can join your school librarian in the fight against book bans and do your part to ensure kids have continual access to the stories and books that will teach them empathy and help them grow into the best versions of themselves.

Happy National School Librarian Day, y’all. Let’s make them glad they took this job.

Get The Librarian DVD Collection at Amazon

About the author

Karis Rogerson is a mid-20s aspiring author who lives in Brooklyn and works at a cafe—so totally that person they warn you about when you declare your English major. In addition to embracing the cliched nature of her life, she spends her days reading, binge-watching cop shows (Olivia Benson is her favorite character) and fangirling about all things literary, New York and selfie-related. You can find her other writing on her website and maybe someday you’ll be able to buy her novels.

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