The Guardian is reporting that children’s laureate Malorie Blackman, the poets Roger McGough and Michael Rosen, former poet laureate Andrew Motion and biographer Michael Holroyd are among scores of authors, illustrators and librarians who are pressing the government to take “urgent” action to make sure all schools have a good school library…
In the wake of the report last week from the Libraries All Party Parliamentary Group, which asserted that it was “vital” that all schools “have a good library to ensure children develop essential literacy and digital literacy skills in order to fulfil their potential”, more than 200 authors have written to the Guardian calling on the Department for Education to “act immediately on the report’s conclusions”. These include instructing Ofsted to look at libraries when inspecting schools, and collecting data on the number of school libraries and librarians.
Signatories to the letter, published in the Guardian, also include the novelist Kathy Lette, the children’s authors Melvin Burgess, Philip Pullman, Anne Fine, David Almond, Francesca Simon, Mal Peet and Meg Rosoff, and Christine Blower, general secretary of the National Union of Teachers.
“We, authors and illustrators, teachers, librarians, parents and others, are keen that this recommendation does not just become another piece of wishful thinking and call on the Department for Education to act immediately,” they write. “This is urgent. Schools lost 280 librarians last year. At the very least the Department should convene a working group including librarians’, authors’, head teachers’ and teachers’ representatives to draw up an action plan to realise the aim of a good library in every school.”
Alan Gibbons, the Carnegie-shortlisted author who has been a major voice in the campaign for the UK’s libraries, is the author of the letter. He said he had been “very encouraged” by the cross-party group of MPs report last week, and by the initial response from schools minister David Laws, who said on its release that that “the school library is an incredibly important way to ensure that children have a good choice when choosing books, a dedicated space for reading, and effective encouragement and stimulation from librarians to develop their literacy skills”.
But Gibbons added: “We also know that there is some distance between recommendations, even by a parliamentary committee, and thriving libraries run by valued librarians in our schools. There are 280 fewer school librarians this year, after all. We would like to see the education ministers meet representatives of librarians, teachers, head teachers and authors to see how these proposals can be implemented.”
The “ultimate” aim, said Gibbons, “would be statutory school libraries”, because “every child has the right to read”…
See the letter in the Guardian at: Scrutinise schools on library provision
Has your/your child’s school lost its library or librarian? Please describe what impact it has had or what you fear might be lost if it was to happen? Is the idea of statutory school libraries a credible one? Please share in the comments or via Twitter…
Don’t forget you can sign up to receive our daily email bulletin every morning (around 7 am) with all the latest schools news stories. Your details will never be given to anyone else and you can unsubscribe at any stage. Just follow this link!