School Libraries Optional for Low-Income Children

In Seattle, a city booming around knowledge-economy and tech industries, low income children have access to only minimal materials in their school libraries while children in other parts of the district have access funded by parent fund-raisers:

In a survey early this year by Seattle librarians, they found one elementary school in Northwest Seattle that received $2,000 from the district for library materials and raised an additional $11,500, for a total of $25.47 per student. In that school, only 9 percent of students qualify for free- or reduced-price lunches.

Yet a similarly sized elementary in West Seattle, where 83 percent of the students qualify for federal free- or reduced-price lunches, only $2.14 is spent per student for books and other items. An average book in that school’s library is 24 years old, compared with 13 in the Northwest Seattle school

School librarians took this on, even while they could instead have positioned them in the better-resourced schools where their jobs were easier and more fulfilling.  Kudos to them.

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