In Sharon Weiner’s article, The Contribution of the Library to the Reputation of a University, she reports a study done to explore “the relationship between a peer-assessed reputation rating for each of the 247 doctoral universities and cross-institutional performance indicators for universities and their libraries . . . The findings showed that the role of the library was important . . . in contributing to reputation.”
In my limited experience, I completely agree. I usually get a variation on one of three responses when I tell people what I do for work and where. “That’s cool.” “What a fun job!” “I didn’t know those kinds of libraries existed on a school district level.” To the last one, I usually respond, “I didn’t either.” Having such a library I think directly speaks to the quality of education for the students in this school district.
There is a high value placed on arts education here, and it shows. I don’t have any statistics readily available to back me up, but our students consistently rank among the top in the nation in academics and arts. While the teachers are often strained with too many students and not enough time with them, arts education still exists in every school.
As the 12th largest school district in the country, of course we have a library to back that up. And, with the work I’m doing, the library is improving, rapidly, and should be at the level we want it at by next school year. The library will finally be something to talk about, much like the school district, and not just because of how backwards it was.