TO THE EDITOR:Â FHS library lags behind rest of facility
I recently enjoyed a visit to Freeman to see my family and at the request of my daughter, we toured the Freeman High School. Sophia, who will be entering her Sophomore year in a high school of nearly 1,900 students, was curious about her cousin Ella’s experience in a small-town school.
To say we were impressed is an understatement. The transition between the elementary and high school, built decades apart, was seamless. The gym, with its brand new floor and weight room, and big stage for performances, was clear evidence of the community’s support of sports and theater, and the large choral and band classrooms rivaled the practice rooms in my daughter’s 200,000 square-foot school. We met warm and welcoming students, teachers, and staff members and our niece talked about how nice and clean the bathroom is which elicited jealousy from her cousin.
At the completion of our tour we stepped into the Freeman High School “library,” which included three dusty and unloved shelves of books, some tables and chairs, and a few computers; it looked like a large storage room and we were completely gob smacked. We were told that there hasn’t been a school librarian for years (the result of budget cuts) and that this is the first year in a long time that they have had money in the budget to order new books. This is shameful.
Libraries and library staff not only help kids find something to read. Libraries are neutral ground, offering something for literally every student in the school. It is grade-free space where kids are free to ask questions and to learn how to find answers. Libraries offer areas for students to work collaboratively outside of a classroom environment. And most importantly, libraries encourage curiosity. Whether someone becomes an accountant, a farmer, a parent, or an artist, learning to ask why and explore creative problem solving will only enhance a person’s contribution to their work and increase their satisfaction in what they do.
A great high school deserves a great school library. Once they have one, Freeman High School will be nothing short of extraordinary.