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My students are afraid of the library

favicon San Francisco has an excellent public library system.

Too bad my students never go.

It’s not because of what you think — that they don’t like reading, or they think the library is uncool. No, that’s not it.

My students don’t go to the library because they’re afraid they’ll be caught for having overdue fines.

A long time ago — probably in fifth grade, or something — my students didn’t return a book on time, and instead of paying the fine, they kept or lost the book. And now they’re convinced there’s no way to fix this situation.

I ask them, “Do you know how much you owe?” They don’t — because they haven’t asked, because they’re afraid that if they ask, something bad will happen. Their remedy is never to set foot in a library again.

This makes teaching reading or English or research challenging for me. Now it’s up to me to renew my students’ relationships with the library, one by one. It’s my job to get my students to face their fears.

Don’t worry, children: The librarian won’t get you. favicon


  1. Chris Mercer

    1) Good work even getting your students to realize that there is more to research than google. 2) I’ve been billed for books I forgot to return but then I just returned the book and the fee was like, a dollar. 3) The library can be a really exciting place when you realize how much you can get for free! Great work Ice Man. Fight the good fight. 🙂

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