Poverty resources @your library

According to Information Power, Principal 4 of Information Access and Delivery, “collections of the library media program are developed and evaluated collaboratively to support the school’s curriculum and to meet the diverse learning needs of students.  The collections reflect the developmental, cultural, and learning needs of all students” (p.90).  Since many students of my school come from homes of poverty or other difficult circumstances of life, I have been working to increase the amount of informational books pertaining to self-help, careers, life skills, and other topics.  After a couple years of doing this, I have realized that these books are some of the higher-circulated books.         

Payne (1996) comments, “schools are virtually the only places where students can learn the choices and rules of the middle class” (p. 62).  By providing access to resources schools can  “promote equitable learning opportunities and success for all students, regardless of socioeconomic background, ethnicity, gender, disability, or other individual characteristics” (ELCC 6).  Ensuring access to materials concerning manners, family relationships, addictions, racism, crime, and career information helps the student of poverty break the generational cycle.

I have discussed this issue with our Graduation Coach and with her help created a Collection Development Tool for Poverty Resources to aid other middle school media specialists in selecting resources for their learning community.  Students need to have support systems in place to help guide them in making life choices.  What better place than their school library media center?

Kris Woods, GLMA Communications Chair


American Association of School Librarians, Association for Educational Communications and Technology. (1998). Information power: Building partnerships for learning. Chicago: American Library Association.

Payne, Ruby. (1996). A framework for understanding poverty. Highlands, TX: aka! Process, Inc.

Williams, Belinda. (2003). Closing the achievement gap: A vision for changing beliefs and practices. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

National Policy Board for Educational Administration. (January, 2002).   Standards for advanced programs in educational leadership for principals, superintendents, curriculum directors, and supervisors [Pamphlet]. Reston, VA: Author. Retrieved December 24, 2007, from National Policy Board for Educational Administration Web site: http://www.npbea.org/ELCC/

Posted on June 21, 2008, in Ideas and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Kris,
    Thank you for the inspiration you provide and the valuable list of appropriate books. I do not think this is a middle school only problem. I believe that students begin looking in the library for answers to their life situations much earlier than middle school. I will definitely add some of these titles to my collection next year. Your post reminded me that I need to discuss with my guidance counselor again what additional books we may need in our library since our student body demographics has changed somewhat over the last year.

  2. Kris,
    I too enjoyed reading Ruby Payne’s book and took great comfort in her message that, as educators, we can endeavor to even up the playing field so that all students regardless of socioeconomic background can all have the same privileges while at school. As media specialists, we are mindful that having a wide variety of materials to address all the multicultural and socioeconomic backgrounds of our students plays a key role in the realization of this goal. Tools are needed to enable us to reach our target of a collection of materials that will foster a love for learning among all students. Tools like the one that you have provided in your collection development list are paramount in assisting us in supporting all the needs of our students. Thank you for all your hard work in compiling the list. I look forward to using it as a reference in the coming school year.

    I love the Chinese Proverb: “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” I like to apply this proverb in my library as: Give a child the answer and you have helped him with one problem. Teach a child how to find the answer and he’ll be able to find solutions to his problems for the rest of his life. I can see that you eminate this theology in all that you do with the children who come into your media center each day! Thank you for being such an inspiration!

  3. Kris,
    Thank you so much for such a wonderful resource. Since I am a brand new middle school media specialist, this information and booklist will come in handy. I (like Camille) plan on using this list to help me order current, informative books. I did have students requesting some of these subjects last year and now I will have books to help them with their questions. Thanks again! Sharon

  4. Kris,
    I have many of the newer titles in our collection and they are the ones I have to replace every year. I will be using your list when I create my book order in the fall to add some of the titles I don’t have. Most of the time teachers never know what students are facing when they go home every afternoon and I think it helps to have those resources so they will know they are not alone. Thank you so much for sharing! Camille Ward

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