This quote from the article had me nodding my feathered head:
Academics believe there is abundant evidence that reading for fun is key to improving literacy from a very early age.
A new London University study, released today, shows that three-year-olds who are read stories every day tend to have significantly better reading abilities by the age of five than those who are not.
If they'd asked us, they could have saved themselves all that money.
And here is the quote from the article that made me cry:
But many fear schools are contributing to the problem by downgrading libraries in favour of web-based learning.
Downgrading any libraries at all is the most short-sighted step an authority can take. Libraries are havens for many, the one place in a community we can bank on learning being free. Libraries give us a key to entering different worlds, providing escape for some, and armchair travelling for others. In a library, I know I will find someone who can help me find entertainment, information, guidance, solutions, questions, and the way to find my own answers. School libraries need teacher librarians who know kids and know children's literature, not technicians chosen because of their lower rate of pay. As Gloria Blanchard said on The Book Chook in her article Aidan's Reading Miracle, what would kids like her grandson do without well-stocked libraries and teacher librarians?
Libraries need computers, so that we can access online information, but they need books too. Books become friends in the way a computer never will. There have been so many many times in my life when a book has helped me cope, taught me a lesson, made me laugh, made me cry, provided escape and relaxation. Our kids deserve that choice. Computers for when the internet or software is the answer, and books for when a book is needed. For when a friend is needed.
I asked children's author Sheryl Gwyther, who was heavily involved in the SAVING AUSSIE BOOKS blog during the campaign against Parallel Importation of Books, what she thinks of library cutbacks.
Sheryl: Recently many Australians fought a battle to save our local children's book industry against the onslaught of Parallel Importation and we won. Now all those who love children's books face an even greater concern - the gradual, insidious elimination of school libraries. Where else can children discover the world of the imagination every day of the school year? Or have the support of a trained librarian?
And the culprits to this destruction? Federal and State Governments from both major parties over a decade. The only way to save school libraries now is to harness the will of the people.
(You can read more at the Bright Ideas blog.)
The new US National Ambassador for Young People's Literature, Katherine Paterson, said recently:
I have seven grandchildren, all of whom are well-equipped with electronic gadgets. Yet all of them are readers - because their parents are readers who have read to them, because they have teachers who care about literature and librarians who introduce them to books they will enjoy and be enriched by. (via Jen Robinson's Book Page.)
I think it's essential we find out from our own school librarians, and community librarians what is going on in their libraries. If you discover that you and your family will be affected, then write to the appropriate politicians and express your concern. No, your outrage.
Downgrading libraries is a disaster!