A worldwide problem, it seems...
By Susan Elkin:
"Books are to education and learning what air and water are to life. Every child needs access to the printed word and lots of encouragement to explore it in order to develop properly.
You might, therefore, be surprised to learn that many schools do not have a library or a librarian – which seems a contradiction in terms. How can you have an organisation whose raison d’ ê tre is learning if it has no library? It’s like a restaurant without a kitchen or a zoo without any animals.
There is no law requiring schools to have libraries either. I worked in a Kent secondary school in the 1990s which had a reasonable – if not wonderful – library extensively used by pupils until the head, clearly not a real educationist, decided that it was, quite literally a waste of space. She decreed that the books be shelved (marginalised?) in the back of English classrooms because she wanted to use the former library room for something else. Result? Reduced emphasis on wider reading and much less access to fewer books for students.
The Society of Authors, which represents over 9,000 writers, is campaigning with other organisations for school libraries to be a legal requirement."