look at libraries over league tables when choosing a school
Last Updated : GMT 07:25:12
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Last Updated : GMT 07:25:12
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Look at libraries over league tables when choosing a school

Arab Today, arab today

Arab Today, arab today Look at libraries over league tables when choosing a school

London - Arab Today

Despite the general rule for quiet demanded by libraries, they’ve been the subject of some fairly significant noise this week. 

Children’s Laureate, Chris Riddell, with eight former Children’s Laureates, have written an open letter to Justine Greening, the Secretary of State for Education, demanding an investigation into school library service closures.

Why should parents or pupils be concerned whether or not school libraries close? Surely they are just mausoleums to the paper-bound past? Rooms that are of little use to today’s internet-connected student population, who have access to a world of books and information through their digital devices?

Quite simply, school libraries, and their librarians, are critical to our children’s future.

Research proves this to be the case. The level of development of the school library is a highly accurate predictor of academic success. Meaning that parents should perhaps go so far as to compare the libraries of the schools they are considering, rather than look at league tables, when seeking the right school for their children.

Chris Riddell, and his fellow former Laureates, are absolutely right to highlight the importance of libraries and librarians in introducing children to life-changing books and turning them into lifelong readers. Reading is a skill that needs to be nurtured and developed.

Librarians play the crucial role of introducing pupils to different genres or authors, as well as encouraging children of varying abilities to read – from the reluctant readers, to those with higher than average reading ages.

However, if libraries were to have a ‘job description’, cultivating a love of reading and fostering literacy is just one of their ‘essential roles’. The other is, or should be; to be at the very centre of learning – a resource, or hub, for students to use in their quest for knowledge.

Ultimately, as students get older they need to become increasingly sophisticated readers for information, as well as, hopefully, for pleasure. They need to be able to find out, and access (through reading and understanding), the answers to their questions themselves.  

Independent learning skills are very much in demand – by pupils and parents, as well as universities and employers, because real education is about so much more than just academic success or grades on a piece of paper. As Mary Beard recently pointed out, “the simple truth is that we can’t teach all that we would like them to know”. The emphasis therefore must now be on teaching children how to learn, and increasingly for themselves.

Libraries have always been focused on the collection, curation and dissemination of knowledge to aid learning. Therefore surely, it makes sense that if libraries are given the right status and adequate resources, they are best placed to play a vital role in the development of these much-needed independent learning skills?

This has never been more important than in today’s information age, when everything we need to know is only a few clicks away, and students are bombarded with information. 

Libraries and librarians should be central in helping pupils understand how to access data, or knowledge, for their studies or interests – regardless of whether this is from a book, an online resource or a journal.

It is equally important that libraries guide students on how to ‘read’ the information that is available to them – a vitally important skill given that the internet is awash with mistakes and misinformation.

But, of course, libraries can only offer this support and guidance if they are properly valued and resourced. Which means that we need as many voices as possible to be ‘shouting’ about the importance of libraries in the education of our children.

Chris Riddell is encouraging children to ask their teachers where their school library is. Perhaps parents also need to be asking their current and prospective schools? Let’s make the ‘noise’ far louder – it needs to reach uncomfortably deafening decibels.

Source: Telegraph

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