Strong Libraries. Strong Schools.
Students at Westlawn Middle School are in need of up to date, age appropriate library books to spark a love of reading. The WMS library collection does not adequately meet the needs of our students.
That’s why Westlawn Middle School is committed to creating a strong school by building a strong library. It’s part of the Tuscaloosa City Board of Education members’ ambitious plan to create robust library collections. Currently, TCS libraries fall well below the standard for “exemplary” libraries based on the Alabama Department Education’s benchmarks. Of the system’s 18 libraries, none meet the designation--yet.
The Board’s “Strong Libraries; Strong Schools.” initiative seeks to change that. State funding ranging from $0 - approximately $1.50 per student per year over the last 10 years have left most school libraries across the state with collections far below the standards for size and average age.
Westlawn Middle School values reading deeply and is thankful for board leadership in calling attention to this great need faced by our school library. Although the school has added to its library collection through the use of grant money and special discounted book programs, this focus on improving the library collection will help boost our students' reading achievement through an increase of recreational reading.
“As a librarian one of my jobs is to weed our collection to keep the materials relevant. In my weeding I had to keep books that will most likely never circulate just to keep a minimal number of books in our library. This is not an acceptable standard. I applaud the board for their commitment and I cannot wait to see the excitement on the faces of my students when new and interesting books fill our shelves,” said Georgia Tidwell, WMS Librarian.
Strong Libraries; Strong Schools is a tiered giving project with recommended gifts ranging from $20 - $1,000. In addition, the board is seeking 18 “Champions of Literacy” to make large, one-time donations to name each school library. Online donations to Strong Libraries; Strong Schools can be made at www.tuscaloosacityschools.com/libraries. More information about the initiative is available by contacting any board member or the Office of Special Programs at 205.759.3722.