Monday, 7 May 2018

Great School Libraries

Back in November 2017, hundreds of writers and illustrators signed a letter from me to the then Education Secretary, Justine Greening. In the letter we pointed out that school libraries are not a statutory requirement, and we shared figures from one split-site state secondary, which since 2014 has lost its school librarians. In 2014, between September and November, when the school had a full-time librarian on each site, 1508 books were loaned to children. Over the same period in 2017, when the school had no librarians at all, children borrowed just 48 books.

“These figures represent a 97% decline in books issued to children at that school to support their learning and development,” the letter states. “In the same period across the UK, the usage of ebooks and electronic resources in schools in particular has flatlined and even in the last year begun to decline – it is not the case that use of books is being replaced by technology. It is the case that children are not receiving the support and encouragement they need in order to become readers.”

We had huge support from everyone in the creative community as people knew just how important school libraries are. Sadly all we had in return for this letter was a copy and paste standard reply from a junior someone-or-other in the Education Dept. But we kind of expected that, and we carried on with our behind-the-scenes plan, and now CILIP has launched the Great School Libraries Campaign.

This is where we need you again. We all do our bit for school libraries and talk about them all the time - sharing visits and good practice and celebrating the work that they do. This is also a chance to gather everything together in one place as part of a three year, evidence based, campaign to ensure that all children have what they deserve - a great school library.

The campaign website is now live and you can register so that you are part of the support network for the ongoing work. We would also ask you to share and talk about this as widely as possible, and to use the hasthag #GreatSchoolLibraries (plural, because we are talking about all school libraries)

You can find everything you need to support this campaign on this link....
Thanks everyone - let's see if we can all make this happen!

Dawn Finch, author and children's librarian - CILIP Trustee and member of the Society of Authors' Children's Writers and Illustrators Group Committee (CWIG)


Pippa Goodhart said...

It's clearly going to take a huge amount of work to convince those in power, but SUCH an important battle to win!

Sue Bursztynski said...

We’re having the same problem here. Principals have a tendency to say,”It’s all on line now, why do they need a library?” The library is the easiest place to scrap when you’re making budget cuts. And my school is unlucky enough to be headed by a former maths teacher, who has made it clear that maths is the most important subject, the one to be given the most money.

Rowena House said...

Registered! Looking forward to hearing how we can support this vital campaign.

Rumena Aktar said...

It's a great campaign but with all the funding cuts how is it viable. My children's school is getting rid of their part time librarian, even though we have had private funding, which has turned our boring library into a fantastic woodland escape. Without an effective librarian I don't believe that all the efforts that have gone into the decor will have any benefit.