Libraries & Their Importance to Youth

Libraries & Their Importance to Youth

Libraries & Their Importance to Youth

Andrew Jame Sanchez

Andrew Jame Sanchez

Andrew Jame Sanchez

Yellow Flower
Yellow Flower
Yellow Flower

Introduction

While developing and writing articles for Social Optics, I noticed a recurring theme. Almost all of my lessons involve or focus on literature. 

You might not identify as an avid reader, but almost every aspect of K-12 education requires sufficient skills in literacy, including subjects like chemistry and geometry. For those who do enjoy reading for fun, libraries can be a safe, quiet space to learn and partake in a valuable activity. I spent large chunks of time in the public library as a kid, and I can personally vouch for the importance of maintaining and promoting these spaces of personal and educational benefit. In the age of social media, Zoom meetings, and online textbooks, we need to take a step back to make sure we don’t overlook the importance of libraries. 


Libraries

When I was younger, my school library was a space of refuge. I could hide between the shelves of books and read away from the hustle and bustle of school hallways. The library was also one of the few places in school where I did not experience a sensory overload, as I’m sure other neurodiverse and Autistic individuals can relate to. I distinctly remember getting lost in books like Treasure Island and S.E. Hinton’s The Outsiders. Back when I was in school, these were common titles on summer reading lists. I look back on this time not as mandatory reading, but as a stage of my life where I felt a sense of belonging in the public library. 

Even now, public libraries are some of the only free spaces. They are quiet, accommodating, and allow for self-regulation that school or other public spaces do not. Self-regulation is the way in which we cope with powerful emotions brought on by the unpredictability of everyday life. I’ve observed in myself and in friends that libraries are places where this can occur. They contain numerous cozy corners, comfy armchairs, and quiet rooms where you can regulate, even in bigger cities like New York. 


Conclusion

No matter what I was doing at my school or public library, I felt free. I was able to spend time with myself in silence, bond with family and friends over a shared love of learning, and tutor other students in a safe space that promotes self-regulation. These experiences are so special to me. 

And these days, libraries offer so much more than dusty, hard copies of books. They offer free internet access and computers anyone can borrow. Some offer E-Sports, video games, board games, and even cooking classes. Even in 2024, libraries are continuing to be a useful, accessible resource that have continued to grow and change with the times. I encourage anyone reading to explore what libraries have to offer. As someone who found my way into advocacy and tutoring through libraries, I can attest that accomplishing anything starts with a library and a dream.


Andrew Sanchez: I am a Curriculum Specialist at Social Optics. Born and raised in New York City, I’ve grown up with an appreciation for inclusivity and representation for all people. I identify strongly with my North African, Portuguese, and Taino Indigenous heritage, as well as my neurodiversity. I struggled with my identity as a child, and my experience with standardized education was shaped by my undiagnosed Autism until the age of 25. Throughout my life, I have been writing and publishing blogs on social media. Now, as a curriculum writer, I approach writing from the perspective that we can best support students of all ages by providing them with an unshakable foundation of who they are and how they can overcome individual challenges to become the person they want to be come, thus preparing them for real life challenges presented by our ever-changing world. 

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All Rights Reserved. 2024 Social Optics Inc.

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All Rights Reserved. 2024 Social Optics Inc.

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All Rights Reserved. 2024 Social Optics Inc.

Seeing Differently, Communicating Clearly.

All Rights Reserved. 2024 Social Optics Inc.