MAHWAH, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A school district in Bergen County is introducing a controversial new policy that many parents fear will turn their children off from reading.
Students in Mahwah’s public schools on Wednesday made a plea to its board of education.
“Can you please let us check out books every week? I hope you do the right thing,” one child said.
In September, district officials changed the rules for school libraries limiting how often its 1,000 elementary school students can check out books to once every two to three weeks.
“(It’s) to allow more time for other enriching experiences that go beyond book circulation,” Superintendent Dr. C. Lauren Schoen said.
Schoen says as librarians are being asked to teach more computer and internet lessons, they have less time to run the checkout desk.
“I’m really worried we’re spending too much time investing in technology and not enough time investing in reading,” parent Dawn Park said.
Students can borrow three books at a time from the library. The BOE says teachers are also encouraged to provide books in classrooms.
“My fear as a parent is my daughter will shy away from her love of reading as the books in her classroom are just not at her level now,” one parent said.
The superintendent vows to sit down with principals and librarians to evaluate how the policy played out in the first half of the school year and what else needs to be done, including the possibility of hiring more library staff.