Children are At Risk in Literacy Deserts
"School Libraries - Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down?" Children at Risk, 4 Dec. 2017. The segment beginning at 32:22 and ending about 46 minutes is a discussion led by Gretchen Himsl, unsuccessful HISD school board candidate but very successful advocate for children at risk.
2018 Texas data
Children at Risk. "2018 School Rankings." Texas School Guide, 2018.
Look here for the raw data and some analysis about how specific schools and districts in TX are doing. Which failing schools have school librarians? Very few, but that data requires digging into local district information. Do successful schools have full-time certified librarians? More often, but the details are murky because schools are not required by state law to specify if the person running the library is certified, or if a certified librarian has been reassigned to a classroom. It is all very complicated!
YES! This is the same Children at Risk organization of the radio show linked to the left.
Book (Literacy) Deserts in Houston ISD
Readers are most engaged with their reading—and derive the most pleasure from it—when they follow their own reading interests and shape their own reading lives. Students of poverty and those without access to libraries may not reach their full potential without access to books. Some of our students are surrounded by rich reading resources at school, at home, and in their neighborhoods, while others live in Book (Literacy) deserts. Ideally, all students should have access to books from public libraries, bookstores, and their local school library. Public libraries provide valuable resources, but young students are dependent on their family to provide transportation if no libraries are in easy walking distance. Even with public libraries in close proximity, the youngest readers must rely on their families to take them to the public library. Therefore, the benefit to students from the public library is limited by circumstance. Bookstores are another resource for students, but access again is limited by transportation, family support, and also money to purchase books. In a school district which provides libraries for students’ use, it should be an expectation that students have access to their school’s collection and are able to check out materials as needed. School libraries provide the best solution for most students since the access to needed reading materials is free, collections should be spread among various interest and reading levels, and the student does not need to provide transportation. Finally, Book (Literacy) Deserts are more impactful when a network of schools close to each other do not promote reading and book checkouts. Students can go from Kindergarten through high school without having access to libraries, books, or library services.
New Book (Literacy) Desert Maps published in January 2017 are based on the library circulation (book checkouts) within HISD schools in the Fall 2015 and the Spring 2016 semesters.