Andrew Carnegie, at one time the richest man in America, was born in Scotland in 1835 and emigrated when he was 13. After making his fortune in railroads, telegraphs, oil, and steel, Carnegie retired in 1901, dedicating his last years to philanthropy. On March 12, 1901, Andrew Carnegie gave $5.2 million to New York City libraries. He also helped establish over 2,500 public libraries, as well as teacher pensions, research foundations, and peace endowments. By the time he died in 1919, Carnegie had given away nearly $325,000,000; he is often referred to as the “Patron Saint of Libraries.”
It is said that Carnegie had two main reasons for supporting libraries. First, he believed that in America, anyone with access to books and the desire to learn could educate themselves and be successful, as he had been. Second, Carnegie, an immigrant, felt America’s newcomers needed to acquire cultural knowledge of the country, which a library would help make possible.
“Classroom libraries—physical or virtual—play a key role in providing access to books and promoting literacy; they have the potential to increase student motivation, engagement, and achievement and help students become critical thinkers, analytical readers, and informed citizens.” This quote comes from the NCTE Statement on Classroom Libraries.
Libraries are magical places. Visitors can learn about far-away lands, find out how to do new things, follow the fantastic adventures of fictional and real-life heroes, and even solve mysteries and find the answers to burning questions. With a child, explore the many free programs and resources available in a local or online library to find out ways to keep active all year long as described in this activity.
In this lesson plan, students visit library websites from a variety of places, including Hong Kong, Kenya, and Scotland, to develop a global perspective and a broader understanding of the types of library services available throughout the world. When they have completed their research, students share their findings with classmates and compare the services available in distant libraries to their local services.
“Librarians and Learning: The Impact of Collaboration” from English Leadership Quarterly shares how collaborative partnerships translated into a strong foundation for student learning. As a result of this collaboration, students became better equipped with the literacy skills they need for both school and for life.
“Libraries Can Be LGBTQ-Affirming Spaces on School Campuses” writes NCTE member Vanessa Perez, a member of the NCTE Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Advisory Committee. Books are a critical part of proving to our LGBTQ students that we recognize and value them, and that we don’t question their right to exist in school or anywhere else.
Libraries are so important in schools and the community. Support your local library today!