Teachers fight for the future of school libraries.

‘Too many school libraries in England face cuts or closure with schools increasingly viewing books as obsolete, a teachers' union has heard.
One head teacher decided "all reading can be done on iPads," a delegate told the Association of Teachers and Lecturers' annual conference.
The union voted to lobby for libraries to be included in Ofsted inspections.
A Department for Education spokeswoman said that school libraries "played a vital role".
Cathy Tattersfield from Derbyshire quoted international evidence suggesting a positive correlation between good school libraries and student attainment.
Ms Tattersfield said she had been "shocked" that two secondary academies had "recently closed or attempted to close their libraries and several of them have had their librarian hours or posts cut, mostly in the ex-mining areas of Derbyshire".’ - BBC

‘Last year Julia Donaldson said the UK government is letting children down. She said it is “awful” that so many school librarians are losing their jobs. “We simply don’t have libraries at all now in a lot of our primary schools and we are getting rid of librarians in secondary schools as well — yet we complain about our poor literacy levels.”

In 2014 Barbara Band, president of the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP), said school libraries were the only place some children have access to books. “Many children don’t grow up with books at home, and it is more difficult than ever for them to visit public libraries given the time pressures on parents and the fact public libraries are having opening hours slashed.”’ – The Bookseller

Writing in the Guardian, Andrew Bradley President, of the ATL in Derby and Derbyshire, said: ‘Librarians do more than stamp books – they are a source of advice and information, and are central to developing children’s love of reading. They often hold reading clubs and sometimes put on activities to support special events, such World Book Day. This is the loss of a vital team member.

So what would an ideal library look like? We are in the digital age and this needs to be reflected in school libraries, but it should not be to the detriment of the printed word. I see a library as a place of learning and research where the printed word works alongside digital access. There should be a choice for learners – not all young people want to use computers and some prefer to curl up with a real, tangible object rather than a virtual equivalent. Computers or e-readers could form an essential component of a school library but should not replace the printed word.

Digital skills are also important and pupils without computer access at home need to get that somewhere – but not at the expense of developing research skills around older, non-digitised media. A balance between the two is needed in a well stocked and planned library.’
The Guardian has also published a gallery of inspirational school libraries.


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