Finding the gold within the dross

23rd February 2001 at 00:00
ON behalf of the School Library Association I strongly object to Shereen Pandit's comments (TES, February 9). She states that most school librarians "have never heard of Anne Fine, Berlie Doherty, Beverley Naidoo or any of the other fine children's writers around".

Far from not having heard of them, many school and children's specialist librarians spend a great deal of their time promoting the works of those authors with initiatives such as Shadowing Carnegie.

Of course, we are also the first to be pilloried when books such as Berlie Doherty's Dear Nobody or Melvin Burgess's Junk win awards such as th Library Association's Carnegie medal. Nevertheless, school librarians will continue to introduce such titles to pupils.

Of course libraries contain a range of material to suit most tastes and reading abilities, but if there is one thing we have learnt it is that no one should presume to dictate what others should read. Children who are avid readers will devour the dross as well as the gold, but how do you learn to tell one from the other without experiencing both?

Kathy Lemaire

Chief executive

School Library Association

Unit 2, Lotmead Business Park

Wanborough, Swindon

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