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Learning support

Dear Sir,

I would like to respond to a comment by Sean James in an article entitled System Failure (TES Online, March 10). It is not helpful or accurate to tell your readers they can "forget the public library" as a source of homework help. All libraries 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, also core collections of homework-help books linked to curriculum subjects, up-to-date reference books such as encyclopaedias, dictionaries and atlases. Also photocopies and printers and 39 Homework Help clubs with trained staff to enable children to do their homework well, but stopping short of doing it for them.

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

Jackie Mason,

Children's and Youth Librarian,

Birmingham Libraries.

* Editor's note: Point taken - Online will cover public library education services in the near future.

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