Does your school have a library or librarian? (updated)

14 Nov

Update: 14 November 2016
“Authors call for school libraries to be protected” (BBC News)                                                                                         
Update:  24 November 2015

Some of Scotland’s most high-profile authors are backing a petition to the Scottish Government’s Petitions Committee calling for protection of libraries in schools.

Do let us know your comments and experiences…


8 July 2014

The Department for Education (DfE) should collect figures on the number of schools in England that have a library and librarian(BBC), according to a report by the Libraries All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG), which also says that Ofsted should examine school library provision when inspectors visit a school.

In The Beating Heart of the School, the group warns that “one of the most concerning trends” is the fall in the number of school librarians in England, which dropped by 280 in two years, and that there is currently no clear picture as to how many schools have libraries or librarians, making it difficult to assess how services can be improved.

The report also says that, under current rules, there is no statutory duty on schools to provide libraries, or library services, meaning that access to such a facility is down to headteachers’ discretion, and that school libraries have been under pressure in recent years, in the face of a continuing squeeze on budgets.

The APPG comments that school libraries are vital in helping children develop literacy skills and a love of reading, and every child should have access to a library within their own school.

Poverty gap

In its Official Response to the Government’s Child Poverty Strategy 2014-17 consultation, Voice commented:

“There is an increasing gap between those in poverty and those not…. Infrastructure within communities is being lost as a consequence of austerity measures – services such as libraries … are being lost. Those in poverty cannot afford to travel into cities and enjoy the facilities in the city centres. There continues to be hidden poverty in rural areas along with suburban poverty in the cities.

On what “works well  in tackling child poverty now”, Voice’s list included:

  • A thriving and well managed infrastructure – youth clubs, libraries, sports centres, swimming pools.

On “at a local level, what works well for preventing poor children becoming poor adults?”, Voice commented:

“High quality inclusive education, a curriculum that is differentiated and allows pupils to catch up and fulfil their potential, a thriving and well managed infrastructure – youth clubs, libraries…”

How do we encourage boys to enjoy reading?

Writing on The Guardian website in 2012, Michael Morpurgo suggested:

  • “regular visits from storytellers, theatre groups, poets, writers of fiction and non-fiction, and librarians from the local library“; and
  • the school library in any school should have a dedicated librarian or teacher/librarian.

Also, with up to 800 public libraries facing closure as a result of budget cuts, and school libraries being squeezed by spending cuts, children are likely to have less access to good quality reading material.” (Voice Blog)

School Librarian of the  Year (School Library Association)

Voice member Lucy Bakewell, who was School Librarian of the Year in 2009, talked about the importance of school libraries for children (pdf) (Your Voice, January 2010).

Does your school have a library or librarian?

Do let us know your comments and experiences…

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7 Responses to “Does your school have a library or librarian? (updated)”

  1. emma nicholls 05. Aug, 2014 at 8:58 pm #

    I am a school librarian (unqualified) in a primary school. Our library is in the heart of the school, we have a large space and are now currently making a story area for children to enjoy listening to stories with myself. I love it as a librarian, love getting children engaged in books in various ways, recommending books, running family reading in the mornings and soon to be starting book clubs. Our library has raised the profile of reading and as it is in the heart of the school it is always busy and full of activity. Children love the mini quizes and challenges. The recent world cup gave us opportunity to focus on the boys who were reluctant to read, they helped do displays, make up fact challenges and enjoyed borrowing football books and magazines. I love being a librarian and am always seeking new ways to encourage reading for pleasure and the love of books.every school should have a library !!!! I could go on and on about our library as it is my baby…

  2. Richard Fraser 19. Aug, 2015 at 3:51 pm #

    “Every eight-year-old in England should be enrolled at their local library, Education Secretary Nicky Morgan says.” “But critics said government cuts meant many libraries had closed or had been forced to reduce their opening times.”

  3. Richard Fraser 17. Sep, 2015 at 3:52 pm #

    In SecEd: “School librarians to be honoured in national awards”

  4. Richard Fraser 14. Jul, 2017 at 11:59 am #

    TES Scotland: “Saga of school libraries close to a denouement”
    “After six years of lobbying, education secretary agrees to lend a hand and pen a national strategy”

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