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For Teachers

The ABC of Education: Why Libraries Matter

As I recruit a team of educators for The New York Public Library’s rapidly expanding Education Department, I consistently hear from candidates about how formative the public library was in their childhoods. Most of us remember after-school and weekend trips to the library to check out books, and the great feeling of hanging out in a space devoted to the quiet pursuit of reading and lifelong learning.

Today’s libraries, however, are more than just a space to read. They are undergoing a metamorphosis in their support of literacy and education across all stages of life, and should be added to the ingredients of educational success that NBC News Education Nation has identified during its fourth annual summit, which convenes world thought leaders and experts to discuss issues of education.

Here are but a few of the ways that NYPL can further contribute to the success of our children and their teachers:

Common Core Resource Support—The Common Core State Standards require teachers to integrate non-fiction materials across subject areas. NYPL has one of the world’s richest repositories of non-fiction books and literature, primary source documents, maps, prints, photographs, videos, databases, etc., and the curatorial expertise to match. We can bring history, literature, math, and science to life with authentic and engaging materials. Through ourMyLibraryNYC program, we are supplementing the resources of City schools through the provision of library cards and on-site book delivery, including Common Core-aligned teacher sets. We are also building a community of education professionals creating best practices for Common Core teaching. Finally, we are planning to link our resources to popular curricula, publish resource lists, and improve the discoverability of our resources online.

Informational Literacy Support—The Common Core standards emphasize higher order thinking skills, many of which involve identifying, evaluating, synthesizing, and communicating different sources of information. This is what libraries do for a living, and since information is increasingly disseminated through technology, we have much to contribute through media and other technology spaces, in-house workshops, facilitation of educational software and database use, the provision of our own online resources, etc.

After-School Support—There is a growing national recognition of the significance of after-school hours for educational enrichment. NYPL has launched a free series of structuredafter-school programs across our three boroughs. Our programs provide one-on-one tutoring and related skill-building through educational software, technology workshops that hone informational literacy, college prep, and paid internships for high school students who coach early elementary students in reading. Our programs have rigorous curricula, but engage students in hands-on learning that looks and feels different from the school day. For those who want a less structured commitment, we also provide multi-session workshop series in science, technology, creative writing, and other popular pastimes.

The merging of our branch circulation and programming with our research functions through the 42nd Street renovation symbolizes the breakdown of a false dichotomy between researchers and other library users. The demands of a global, technology-based economy, as well as increasingly rigorous education standards, now require us to be smart consumers of information across disciplines and professions. As a centuries-old purveyor and explainer of information, The New York Public Library has a central role to play in this evolution.


Patron-generated content represents the views and interpretations of the patron, not necessarily those of The New York Public Library. For more information see NYPL's Website Terms and Conditions.

Photo accompanying Common Core Resource page

Please change the photograph that accompanies your blog post ( to better reflect the student population in New York City's education system. The child you have in the image is wearing a uniform for the controversial corporate charter school Success Academy. The majority of NYC's student population are not charter students nor are they enrolled in the Success Academy network. Your use of this image reflects a bias towards this charter network, which has garnered much critical attention for numerous problems, including their large advertising budget. The war of images is a very important strategy to the corporate charter movement. As a supporter of the NYPL and public educator, I am disappointed that you would use an image of a charter school student to accompany your resource page on the Common Core Standards. All NYC educators are instituting the Common Core, not just the charters as suggested by the photo. It makes me wonder about the value of the material posted on the NYPL site as well as question the intentions of the blogger.


Yes, you are right, I think the photo in this article should not have any logos. May it was unintentional, but it should not be there because NYPL is for all students. It takes away from the great article content.

This idea of being

This idea of being "politically correct" really pushes our society down and makes us all focus one the little things that shouldn't really matter. What if this is a child that goes to Success Academy? Success Academy uses the Common Core Standards. Is this about charter schools or education, and the NYPL? Charter schools are public schools, charter school teachers and students go to the NYPL. Is the picture the real issue here? FOCUS!

Why don't you support pubic schools?

You should remove the photo from a charter school who's president makes over half a million a year but doesn't pay rent to the public schools that they invade. Shame you you NYPL! Who is your donor...I wonder? Even if you remove the logo, we know who is marketing their schools by the uniform. This school doesn't take special needs students or pushes those students out so please consider the majority of children in nyc who attend public school.

The photo and link to NBC

Ms. Jacobs, While I, too, think your post is informative and helpful, I am disappointed by the use of a Success Academy Student in your photo. I also think it is unnecessary to link to NBC's Education Nation, which has not given equal time to parents and teachers in the public education discussion, instead focusing on a corporate-driven approach.

Why don't you publish the other commments complaining about pic?

My comment and others were not published, do you shut out all real public school parents voice like the NYSED and NYC DOE does for the past 15 years?


I don’t think there is anything wrong with this photo. What do I see? I see an African American girl reading a book. This is a positive thing regardless of what school she attends. She does reflect and is a part of the New York City’s education system. She is a part of the 70,000 kids in public charter schools.

Thank you for changing the photo

Thank you NYPL for changing the photo. I don't think the issue here is political correctness but the misinformation such a picture projects, especially in the New York City area. By using it, the NYPL politicizes the page and turns off the majority of NYC public educators. Please keep your resources helpful and useful, and bias free.

PHOTO of Child

Wow! I guess the pressure wass on and the photo was changed to appease a few folks. It's really sad that it has come to this, pinning traditional public schools against charter schools. It should be about educating our children and ensuring/demanding they receive the best education possible !

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