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Don't write off public libraries

Information technologyco-ordinator Sean James tells your readers that they can "forget the public library" as a source of homework help ("System Failure", Online magazine, March 10). This is neither is helpful nor accurate.

All libraries now offer internet access, usually free, a space for children to work and supportive staff for those not fortunate enough to have these things at home. Many offer far more.

In Birmingham libraries we have free internet access, word processing, email and CD-Rom collections.

We also have core collections of homework help books linked to curriculum subjects, up-to-date reference books such as encyclopaedias, dictionaries and atlases. We have photocopiers and printers and 39 homework help clubs with trained staff to support children.

Many other library authorities have similar services and facilities. We find the heaviest demand for homework support is in the deprived areas so please encourage teachers to see libraries as partners, not has-beens.

Jackie Mason

Children's and youth librarian,

Birmingham Libraries

Corfe House

Main Road

Ansty, Coventry

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