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.

Comments (2)
  1. Charlene Varry says:

    Since it is Elementary schools, how about asking the parents to help out during the day in the Library. Yes I know both parents in a family work but I can’t image ALL of them do. READING is one of the most important things a child or ADULT can do to improve their education. Hire another teacher to teach the computer and internet and leave the LIBRARIANS to do their job. This is the dumbest rule I have EVER heard.

  2. Lynne Soltys says:

    There is nothing greater than when a child opens a book and falls in love with it. My students select one of the books they read each month as the “Best Book for X”. They love to hear some books over and over. They create a bibliography of their favorite books at the end of the school year. Really impressive little second graders. We need to keep students reading and picking up books. Perhaps they will not pick up a weapon as he is too busy reading!

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