How Do School Libraries Prepare Students for Success in College and the Workforce

School libraries help prepare students for their academic and employment future.

Public libraries are instrumental supporters of learning and development at all levels.

This is no different for students entering college and going through fields of studies that will impact their futures and careers.

There is an array of resources available and support provided by public libraries to high school students making important decisions about their next steps as well as those developing crucial habits and skill sets that they will carry with them throughout college and into their careers. Libraries are a beneficial resource and librarians can teach skills to help students gather and evaluate information needed to face decisions from step one. This ensures that students are prepared from the application and decision making process to their first day in a new workplace.

Here are just a few ways libraries play pivotal roles in the college search and admissions process:

Delaware Libraries and College Readiness 

Libraries in Delaware play a pivotal role in college readiness for young scholars throughout the state. 

Delaware starts readers off very young with its available programming. With Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, children enrolled in the program get a free book monthly from their birth up until their 5th birthday. 

Children who develop a habit of reading at home are statistically shown to score higher on tests, so it is positive to develop such habits decades before the child begins to write their first college essay. 

Delaware Library offers an online platform called Beanstack, which allows children and adults alike to log their reading and activities all in one place, earning incentives for every new program book they can complete.

Beyond the traditional Summer Reading Program, which is offered annually, the Delaware Public Library is engaging young people in a plethora of unique ways each summer, including a Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) summer program in partnership with the Delaware Aerospace Education Foundation (DAEF) as well as a Nature Society Summer Program.

In addition to its many programs, The Delaware Public Library also assists its patrons with a variety of services including Telehealth assistance, business resources, digital literacy courses, subject guides, and social justice guides. 

The Delaware Public Library offers museum passes to select venues in your area, garnering low-income individuals access to a wide array of arts and cultural experiences.

Yet still, the best way to engage with the Delaware Public Library is to enjoy its many in-person resources by getting a library card. Delaware Public Library also offers a catalog of college resources and inter-library loans.

Libraries Develop Tools and Standards

Libraries have developed standards that ensure students will be ready for whatever they are faced with in a changing world. The American Association of School Librarians has provided tools and standards that teach school librarians how to prepare students to become effective learners in the twenty-first century. Many of these standards emphasize being able to find, comprehend, and evaluate information effectively as well as meeting Common Core State Standards. These benchmarks are just one way college readiness is measured and school programs that are led by trained and certified librarians become key factors in a student’s growth.

In addition to honing college readiness skills, libraries also provide extensive resources and support in the college search process. Librarians can help students organize their priorities and research locations, financial aid, and majors so that they are ready to make informed decisions when the time comes to choose a college that fits their needs.

Libraries Teach Research Skills

Librarians are trained in conducting research. While schools drill students on facts and emphasize testing, libraries help ensure that students are also developing key skills that will instill confidence in learning and beneficial habits. Life in college becomes more research-intensive than ever before meaning students will not only be able to find credible and useful information, they will also need to know how to sort through, analyze, and critique it before incorporating it into their arguments and topics.

Libraries Help Improve Writing Ability

Writing becomes a major aspect of college and the workspace as well. Students need to write concisely and be impactful with their paragraphs in order to explain their thoughts clearly to their peers and professors. This in turn translates to skills needed in the workplace. They might have to adapt their writing skills to grant or proposal writing, white papers, or reports. When these skills are instilled at an early age through local public libraries, they become habits that follow students as they go into their future endeavors.

Libraries Bridge the Digital Gap

The use of computers and the internet is becoming an increasingly core aspect of education and digital learning these days. Not only is access an important part of ensuring that students receive equal educational opportunities, developing digital literacy is an important skill that plays into many roles students will end up in. Libraries fill the space that students need to research colleges and careers as well as learn how to use technology in a way that is responsible and safe.

Libraries Build Critical-Thinking Skills

Many employers note that new hires lack soft skills and are deficient in areas such as communications and reading comprehension. This goes to show that just attending classes is not enough to prepare students for their next steps in college and future careers. Libraries help foster these important critical-thinking skills in students through programming, resources, and encouraging reading from a young age. In turn, students are able to develop social skills, a productive work ethic, time management, and good verbal and nonverbal communication skills. All of these skills are important components not only of good workers, but good leaders. Instilling and practicing these skills from an early age lead to higher levels of creativity and innovation as well as problem solving skills in complex situations. This helps students in their future careers and gives them potential for earning higher wages.

Libraries are gateways to information that students need in order to become successful in adapting to college life and the workforce. They become extremely important in helping students learn and develop habits and skills that become critical in their future work whether in the college lecture hall or at their first job.





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