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Sheffield students advocate for libraries

Write letters to support funding

September 28, 2010
Students feel the effects when libraries cut back. Sheffield Area Middle/High School Advanced Placement English 12 Teacher Sarah Connolly said she has told her students about reductions in state funding leading to fewer library resources. The 10 members of her AP English 12 class became the most upset, she said, as they use the materials more than other students. Student Morgan McLaughlin said computers at the school block many search engine results when researching essays. Database subscriptions served as the only way to access some of the needed information, she said, but libraries now use a less inclusive system to cut costs. Reduced subscriptions started two years ago, Connolly said. She said students also have a limit on books they can borrow from other libraries. School Librarian Mrs. Leonhardt said libraries can’t support the research demand with books alone. People have produced the databases by evaluating material on free websites, she said, but students do not have time to make such determinations in time to finish assignments. Student Garret Dunn said politicians shoudl consider what funding they cut. Money should go towards libraries, he said, since the state can afford to support projects like downtown renovations in Warren. According to Connolly, students have focused on ways to overcome the reductions. As an example, she said they can share good websites with classmates. English teachers at the school have given students an opportunity to write to State Rep. Kathy Rapp (R-65), Connolly said. From at least 30 letters written last year, she said she does not know of any responses. “Our generation has focused on technology,” Dunn said. “We’re used to having those resources along with more traditional forms of information.” Student Kerrin Swartz said people want students to get better grades and higher test scores. However, she said cutting resources makes these goals difficult to achieve.

Article Photos

Times Observer photo by Colin Kyler
Members of the Sheffield Area Middle/High School Advanced Placement English 12 class have been discussing state funding cuts which inhibit their ability to research. Pictured left to right in the front row are: Kerrin Swartz, Ashley Barr, Disha Patel and Kristie Steffan. Pictured left to right in the back row are: School Librarian Mrs. Leonhardt, Diana Leach, Brittany Summers, Blake Bailey, Garret Dunn, Morgan McLaughlin, Calyn Fitch and Teacher Mrs. Connolly.



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