Blog Posts

School Librarians and Reading Joy is like Peanut Butter and Jelly

April is School Library Month! Reading Is Fundamental recognizes the crucial role that school librarians play in spreading the joy of reading.

Karen Abraham headshot

 Annually in April, the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) and school library professionals from all over the world celebrate the transformational role a strong school library plays in every student’seducation. School librarians are encouraged to host activities to help their school and local community celebrate their essential role in transforming teaching and learning. Visit for free resources including how to celebrate, promotional graphics, videos, and more. You can find additional reading resources, lesson plans, activities, book lists, and more to enhance your celebrations this month, available on RIF’s Literacy Central. Read on to learn about the important role of school librarians and how they work in partnership with RIF.

This month I attended the New Hampshire School Library Media Association’s annual conference in Concord, New Hampshire. Our theme was “Better Together.” There are things that immediately come to mind when I hear those two words; peanut butter and jelly or movies and popcorn. But, as I began to think about writing this blog post, “better together” made sense for two more topics: School librarians and reading joy. Truly, what could be a more perfect partnership?

School librarians spend our days doing multiple tasks. However, I know that one of the best moments of my day is when I am able to connect a student with the perfect book. There is no better feeling than seeing the excitement on their face, and when they bring that book back and want to talk about it…? Those are the moments that keep you coming back day after day. We are so lucky that many of our students have the opportunity to bring home a book from their school libraries as there are so many children who do not have books at home. As a school librarian in a Title 1 school district, I know the importance of our students having a chance to pick out a book of their own to bring home or accessing an eBook on their school provided laptop.

The American Association of School Librarians has shown research that school librarians are linked to improved reading scores on standardized tests. Our work is enabled and furthered by our many partners: teachers and school leadership, families and caregivers and strong non-profit partners like Reading Is Fundamental (RIF).

We are on the frontline, especially at the elementary level, in teaching our students to be great readers. RIF’sexceptional literacy programs help us achieve our goals of bringing our students to the next level of reading. RIF’s Read for Success program has the full package: 

  • Books for students to choose and take home. 
  • Book collections for classroom read-alouds. 
  • Professional development for educators. 
  • Literacy resources. 
  • Enrichment activities. 
  • Reading strategies for school and home.

When thinking about activities to do with our readers, the “Tools” tab on the Literacy Central website has a fantastic graphic organizer section. I have used the Know- Want to Know – Learn (KWL) graphic organizer with students exploring non-fiction books to choose for a project. And, RIF’s Rally to Read program is a perfect companion to our goals and fosters so much excitement from staff and students. As I look through the themes of each month, I see so much that can align with the themes in our schools. In our district, we desire to have a culture full of learning and inquiry that is inclusive of all. The books and authors that participate in RIF’s Rally to Read coincide with our school themes and it creates a win in many ways besides increasing the number of books our students read.

An AASL common belief is that “reading is the core of personal and academic integrity.” (School librarians constantly strive to create learning environments that center around encouraging our students to learn to read and beyond that to really enjoy reading. Independent reading has become popular with my high school’s English classes and creating activities in the library such as “speed dating with a book” peaks their interest in a book. This School Library Month is such an exciting opportunity to highlight the many ways school librarians drive impact and the innovative approaches we use. 

As I think about this role, I know professional development is crucial to make our libraries successful. Collection development is so important, and our libraries need to be mirrors and windows for our students. The state conference gave me opportunities to attend sessions that included: Nourishing Non-Fiction Readers, All-District and All-School Book Reads, the Evolution of Growing Readers and Spark Literacy! I am eager to bring this back to my school and put it into practice and know that the partnership of school libraries and the programs featured by RIF make perfect sense and we will most certainly be better together.


Karen Abraham is the school librarian at Laconia High School in Laconia, NH. She was the 2023 New Hampshire School Library Media Association School Librarian of the Year and is a Past-President of the New Hampshire School Library Media Association. She is also the Technology Officer for the New England School Library Media Association and a member of the AASL School Library Events Promotion Committee.