1 in 5 Schools Library Services facing closure

Libraries face closure
Published on Friday, 07 December 2012 08:54
Posted by Scott Buckler

A recent survey found that Schools Library Services are facing an uncertain future as 50% of local authorities who responded are reviewing services and 40% say funding is likely to be lower this financial year compared to last

The survey of local authorities in England, Wales and Northern Ireland was carried out by the Chartered Institute of Library & Information Professionals (CILIP) who estimate that one in five Schools Library Services could be facing the possibility of closure.

"The threat to so many Schools Library Services is a serious concern," said school librarian and 2013 Vice President of CILIP Barbara Band, "Across the country they contribute to children's attainment and education by promoting reading, teaching essential research skills, improving literacy, lending books and resources, supporting teachers, arranging events and author visits."

Schools Library Services are run by local authorities for schools. The way services operate varies across the country. The vast majority lend schools books and resources. They usually provide schools with advice and training on managing and developing their own school libraries, on teaching information and digital fluency to help children to become independent learners and on helping schools create a reading culture.

Schools Library Services are generally staffed by experienced qualified librarians who have knowledge of the curriculum and of children's literature.

The key findings of the survey are:

  • Schools Library Services are being reviewed in 50% of respondent authorities that have responsibility for the Schools Library Services.
  • In a quarter of respondent authorities, the service is being reviewed and closure is a possibility. If these results were replicated across England and Wales, one in five (22)Schools Library Services could be facing the possibility of closure.
  • 40% of respondent authorities said that the likely funding of the service would be lower in 2012-13 compared with 2011-12.
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