As many of us are starting to think about getting back to school and the return of formal studies, here’s a handy article by Lora Shinn, “A Home Away from Home: Libraries & Homeschoolers”, in the August 1 issue of School Library Journal:
Homeschooling families are everywhere these days. They’re on television, giving interviews after winning national spelling bees. They’re in the paper, profiled after making Olympic trials. They’re on the radio, talking about the growing popularity of homeschooling as an educational choice.
And they’re definitely in your library.
According to a 2003 study by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), when homeschoolers were asked about their primary source of books and/or curriculum, 78 percent named their public library. Leah Langby, the library development and youth services coordinator at Indianhead Federated Library System in Eau Claire, WI, says her husband homeschools their two children. “It is nearly impossible to homeschool without that amazing resource unless you have a ton of money for materials,” adds Langby, referring to her local public library.
Consider passing along a copy of the article, with its suggestions for “programming, resources, and specialized services”, to your librarian, and if your librarian is the helpful and supportive type, a thank you note and a plate of homemade cookies (or flowers from the summer garden) might be a dandy way to start off the new learning year. If your librarian hasn’t always been helpful and supportive and your library isn’t the sort of home schooling haven described, well, the article just might be helpful in changing a mind or two.
Hat tip to Adrienne at the Homeschooling and Libraries blog; Adrienne is children’s librarian of most home schoolers dreams, and her first book is the recent Helping Homeschoolers in the Library. Thanks, Adrienne!