Won’t Somebody Think of the Children?!

A Doncaster teacher, Anthony Heald, blogged about the importance of public libraries to his students:

As a teacher I regularly encounter students who are unable to access at home the online resources I (and many of their classmates) take for granted. I advise them to go to their local library where internet access is free. I regularly have students who are wanting to pursue language investigations or extended projects on topics that require material unavailable in the school library. I advise them to seek the expertise of the information professionals at their local library.

For many of them, such advice is already futile as they are likely to find the door of their library closed at the sort of times a student is likely to be able to access it.

Council budget cuts are sadly inevitable, and libraries are a soft target. But the softer the target, the more damage is done when it is hit.

 

Further evidence that what Doncaster needs is better libraries, near the homes and schools of those who need them, open for longer, staffed with qualified and expert information professionals.

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2 Responses to Won’t Somebody Think of the Children?!

  1. Mick says:

    As a child I visited my local library regularly and found great joy in looking through the shelves and finding books which fed my imagination, and would never have come across if it wasn’t for the library. This was 35-40 years ago, and my grandson now does exactly the same at his local library. Society has changed so much over those years, not always for the best in my opinion, but I find it reassuring that he can at least share that same liberating experience of selecting a book of his own choice, which may be nothing to do with the school curriculum, and reading for pleasure.
    I have also noticed that the homework he receives relies more and more on the availability of a computer for research. He has that resource at our house, but I know for a fact that many children in his class do not have that luxury. It seems wrong to me that some children are put in the position where their learning can be compromised because they don’t have access to a computer outside school.
    But libraries have computers, and yes, they are free for children to use I believe. This means that those children who come from poorer backgrounds can actually have access to the same information as the rest of the kids at school if they have a local library.
    Poverty is on the increase at the moment, and with the announcement of cutbacks pending from the government, which I suspect will worsen the situation, libraries may be the saviour of a generation of children growing up in a society in which we are expected to do without in order to pay for the mistakes the bankers and speculators have made.
    Libraries provide a service to society which is hard to measure, but can enrich lives in many different ways, but they also provide a lifeline for many children who deserve to have as good a start in life as anyone else. We can’t let them down. We must stop the local politicians and make them feel ashamed that they ever considered shutting our libraries.

    • Lauren says:

      Thanks for the comment Mick, I agree with you completely.

      You may also be interested in Voices for the Library (http://voicesforthelibrary.org.uk), a national campaign that has launched to raise public and government awareness of the value of libraries.

      “Libraries will get you through times of no money better than money will get you through times of no libraries.”
      — Anne Herbert

      Lauren

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