How appalling that school libraries and librarians are under threat in many parts of Scotland. This is far from just a Scottish problem. There is much too little understanding of the huge contribution the school library and librarian can make to literacy and learning. More than a little ironic given the current – appropriate – emphasis on literacy across the curriculum and reading for enjoyment. In response, and to mark School Librarian of the Year and School Library Inspiration Award day, here’s a round-up of recent pieces about their importance, along with several valuable quotes. Kevin Brooks rightly said at today’s school library celebration: ‘To see school libraries being taken away makes no sense at all.’ (If you haven’t seen them, do also check out my other blogs on this topic.)
YA author Dan Smith asks why school libraries and librarians aren’t compulsory. ‘The school librarian is helping to shape young minds, to create our future.’
School Libraries Matter: The Changing Role of the School Librarian is a short American film on the importance and impact of school libraries.
This is a Canadian author’s perspective on why school librarians are essential, but it’s just as relevant in the UK and elsewhere.
In a blog dedicated to ‘all the wonderful specialist school librarians who are the backbone of our children’s education’, Sita Brahmachari interviews IBBY Chair Pam Dix. ‘Sometimes I’m asked to recommend some good literacy projects for the school to use and I always recommend the best one I know – a library with a librarian!’
Here is Anthony Horowitz’s view: ‘The library is the beating heart of any school. It connects everything and everyone in the school – no matter what your interests, you’ll find something there for you. A school without a library is about as useful as a school without teachers.’
In her Carnegie medal acceptance speech Tanya Landman spoke of librarians as the ‘defenders of the imagination and the guardians of civilisation.’
Children’s Laureate Chris Riddell tells us ‘Librarians are the custodians of literacy – they lay the stepping stones that start the journey from one book to another, widening horizons and the reading experience.’
Finally, let’s not forget the words of Albert Einstein: ‘The only thing that you absolutely have to know, is the location of the library.’