Let’s get more books into the library

If we want students to reach their annual reading goals, they need access to titles they want to read.

On common problem students face is choosing the right book.  With the Accelerated Reader program taking 20% of student grades in language arts, students need to access a lot of books throughout the year, but the library is not always the best place for variety or selection.  This is due to the fact that schools do not have enough books for students because of damaged books and not having enough money. 

“We lost 500 books because of COVID,” said Library Tech Mr. David Mendiola. Because each book costs approximately $21, the MacArthur Fundamental Library lost more than $10,000.

As a consequence of this problem, many students have difficulty finding books to take A.R. tests, which can result in many not achieving their word goal.  These goals are set for students so that they can get the practice they need to continue growing as readers.  But without accessible books for students to read, those goals cannot be met.

“The District gave a funding of $12 per student (to buy books),” said Mendiola. “That’s more than what we usually get.”  He also added that the library would usually receive around $2,000 to buy books during a traditional school year.

Mendiola also said that depending on the book, he would buy 3-4 copies of it. “A lot of kids right now like Graphic Novel books,” he said.  Only 3-4 copies of each book are not enough for about 1,175 to pick one that they like.

Considering the shortcomings in book availability, there are two different solutions that may help.  If students cannot get hold of physical books, there are always e-books to try.  One source that you can use for e-books includes Sora. Another action we can take is donating books for our library. 

By using e-book apps, like Sora, students are provided with many books outside of the physical copies in the library to read.  While Sora itself is an online library, meaning many titles are still “checked out” when students try to access them, it does significantly increase the pool of books from which students can choose.

Donating books may be another way to increase the availability of titles for students to check out.  Each year, many MacArthur students buy books to reach their reading goals.  If these students do not have younger siblings, then those books are an untapped resource that can be shared with the campus.  Also, teachers, staff members, or community groups may also choose to donate titles, too.

Although donating books and checking out e-books may seem like it would impact our school, there are a couple of drawbacks to it.  When it comes to donating books, many students most likely would not have books to donate because they are trying to look for books to read at our school library.  Also, donated titles may not be the most popular, either.  As far as the Sora app goes, many encounter complications trying to checkout a book because the app is provided to all students across the same district and, again, popular titles go first.

As of right now, the availability of books has been a huge problem for many students.  Despite the fact that there are a couple of disadvantages towards the two solutions, it is worth attempting because it can only help and not harm the setback we have with books.  Let’s all set a goal to get at least 1,000 donated books!