School libraries rescue is overdue;Letter

30th July 1999 at 01:00
IT WAS extremely encouraging to see the TES devoting so much space to support public libraries.

However, I was disappointed that there was no mention of school libraries or school library services, which have the potential to support teaching and learning more effectively than public libraries, if well staffed and resourced.

Yet almost no primary school and only one in three secondary schools has a qualified librarian. In Canada, New Zealand, Australia and the United States, the teacher-librarian is the norm.

Providing money for books is not enough. Do children learn effectively if money is provided for desks, blackboards and computers without a teacher to teach them?

School library services are suffering, particularly in England, from cuts in delegated school budgets, local government re-organisation and the possible effects of Fair Funding. Some have already closed leaving many schools without any access to professional advice or extra resources.

Surely the paper which successfully campaigned for school music services should be campaigning for school libraries?

Kathy Lemaine, Chief executive, The School Library Association, Liden Library, Liden, Swindon

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