While Shereen Pandit is entitled to her views on the worth, or otherwise, of Sweet Valley and other popular fiction she really must check her facts.
My librarians have certainly heard of Anne Fine, Berlie Doherty and Beverley Naidoo and what is more they can spell their names correctly. We offer 39 Anne Fine titles, represented by more than 700 copies across 17 libraries and two mobiles; 26 titles by Berlie Doherty (260 copies) and three titles by Beverley Naidoo (27 copies).
Despite these multiple copies, they may not always be on the shelves as the librarians task is to encourage the children to expand their readig tastes and explore stimulating fiction.
We do not, however, offer our readers a constant diet of mind-stretching material, everyone is entitled to light relief, whether it is Sweet Valley High, thrillers or Mills amp; Boon.
The secret, as most teachers and librarians will tell you, is to get people reading and to get them into the library where, hopefully, with the expert knowledge and guidance of the library staff they can move on to more challenging books if that is their wish.
Cllr Susette Palmer
Cabinet member for libraries
London borough of Barnet
Friern Barnet Lane, London N11