How do school libraries work against “book deserts”?
HISD is a district with so many students in need of free or reduced lunch that the district now offers every student free lunch and breakfast. Students from economically challenged homes also have no books at home, and likely no internet access – they are effectively Book Deserts. The neighborhoods where these students live are seldom next to public library branches, and definitely have no bookstores. The school library is their oasis, the place where they are welcome to look for books on their level that will help them read better, that will entertain them and encourage further forays into reading for pleasure. The school librarian facilitates that enthusiasm, and also helps to focus their reading in ways that support classroom learning and ultimately skills for those ever-present state mandated tests. Classroom libraries are also nice, but they are not reliable from grade to grade, from teacher to teacher – even when HISD installs Guided Reading collections designed for a specific grade. Some students are lower in skill and some higher; students may need to be enticed by plots or topics not in that Scholastic set. The school library is key. You might want to read Ariel Sacks blog post “Why School Librarians Are the Literacy Leaders We Need” (Opinion: Teaching for the Whole Story, EdWeek, 29 May 2018). School librarians effectively support students from homes with no books by offering them a book home at school.
You also might look at local information about book deserts.
HISD School Board Districts and Representatives - this page of this website includes maps of each school board district.