When evaluating a school, always pay close attention to the type of library facilities they offer. A good library can encourage your child's interest in reading, and offer valuable assistance for doing reports and homework assignments. Kindergartens should have a library inside the classroom, with books designed for small children to handle. In grade schools, look for a library that has a special area for the younger children, including a card catalog they can understand. For older grades, there should be a standard card catalog, as well as microfiche equipment, and a computer database that helps students find books by subject. The bigger the school, the bigger the library it needs. On average, it should have about 50 books per student, as well as maps, newspapers, and magazines. An accredited school will probably meet or exceed these standards, since the regional accreditation commissions often specify the number of books and periodicals a library must carry. In general, private schools have better libraries than public schools, because private institutions spend over twice as much per student for library facilities.
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