Tag archives: school libraries

Monday, 5 October 2015

School libraries and school librarians matter – news, articles, a video and quotes

Today a reader tomorrow a leader City of London Academy IslingtonI was delighted to have this as a back-drop at a training course I gave recently in the library of City of London Academy Islington.

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.’

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Children need libraries for books, for reading, for education, for life – some powerful quotes

Hungry CaterpillaLike thousands of others I am appalled by the shocking cuts being made to public library provision and to school libraries. The consequences will be dire. Even if we consider just the economic picture, libraries are crucial. According to the Evidence Review of the Economic Contribution of Libraries ‘Research provides compelling evidence that library usage is linked to reading levels among children and young people, and that library usage and reading, in turn, are important factors in literacy skill levels and general educational attainment.’ Reading skills and reading enjoyment are fundamentally important not only for success in life, but also for mental well-being. Without libraries how can we possibly embed them? You only have to look at this great photo from Tower Hamlets Idea Stores and Libraries to see their benefits.

In a week in which the Guardian is publishing a series of love letters to libraries, I thought I would share some of my favourite library quotes, particularly ones reflecting on libraries’ role in supporting children, starting with an extract from A L Kennedy’s passionate piece. They paint a powerful picture.

‘Thank you for being the first place I realised how beautiful books were, how many books there were and for teaching me that they should all be available to me, that I could learn whatever I wanted and go wherever I wanted to in my mind. Thank you for opening the world to me.’ A L Kennedy

‘At the moment we persuade a child, any child, to cross that magic threshold into a library, we change their lives forever, for the better.’ Barack Obama

‘The education that mattered most to me began when my mother first took me to the public library and I registered for my own hallowed ticket.’ Will Self

‘I would never have become an author if it hadn’t been for my local library as a child.’ Malorie Blackman

‘A library isn’t just a library. It is a space ship that will take you to the farthest reaches of the Universe, a time machine that will take you to the far past and the far future, a teacher that knows more than any human being, a friend that will amuse you and console you — and most of all, a gateway, to a better and happier and more useful life.’ Isaac Asimov

‘You want weapons? We’re in a library! Books are the greatest weapons.’ Doctor Who

‘The way to get children reading is to leave the library door open and let them read anything and everything they want.’ Terry Pratchett

‘Libraries are browsing places, dreaming places, finding out places. So much education takes place when children are making choices of their own.’ Michael Morpurgo

Finally, a truly wonderful verse from Hear It Again by Ted Hughes:

Even the most misfitting child
Who’s chanced upon the library’s worth
Sits with the genius of the Earth
And turns the key to the whole world.