I would like to stress that it is school library budgets, not book budgets, that have been slashed. Although school librarians have an important part to play in reader development and reading for pleasure, they are also involved in teaching information literacy. This means budgets are also spent on access to online databases and developing web tools to enable students to cope with higher education or employers.
There are few other educators in schools who understand the complexities of referencing, citations and modern plagiarism issues - all of which are essential preparation for academic research. The International Baccalaureate Diploma, now being adopted by many schools, insists on a "well funded school library" and recommends it is run by a "qualified professional teacher librarian" - mainly because this is the status quo in other countries around the world where the value of a school librarian and a school library to education is appreciated.
Sarah Pavey MSc FCLIP, Box Hill School, Dorking, Surrey.