Libraries – the great equaliser for children

Malorie Blackman, the Children’s Laureate, has attacked the government for failing to stop local authorities closing libraries. She says that “For children they provide an equaliser that allows everyone access to books, story-telling sessions, homework clubs; expert librarians who give non-partisan assistance and advice regarding books; and warm and safe environments within which to discover and explore the world of literature.”

Some time ago a friend who lives in the Cotswolds told me they were closing her local library but it didn’t really matter because everyone had lots of books in their own homes. If that’s a typical view in Gloucestershire, I pity the poor kids there who don’t have their own personal libraries. Well, here in Sandwell it’s a very different economic picture and perhaps that’s one of the reasons why none of our libraries has been closed in this latest round of cuts.

In a world that’s becoming more and more unequal a library is the one place where all children can discover the amazing books out there. (Plus free internet access and often free printouts for homework.) Who can put a value on that?


4 thoughts on “Libraries – the great equaliser for children

  1. Ste J

    It’s good that a government supposedly big on education had realised the folly of closing so many libraries, when i used to get Private Eye every week they were full of the hypocricy of government attitudes to libraries. Children who are encouraged to read get so much more out of their imaginations.

  2. blackcountrylibrarian Post author

    This government’s leaving it up to local authorities to decide about closing libraries, and not doing anything to discourage it. You’re right about children’s imaginations – reading often helps them grow up into more creative, happier people!

  3. thestoryofrei

    I think it’s a shame that people wouldn’t want to support their local libraries and are content with the same old books they have at home. What about discovering new things that you may not have otherwise considered? Aside from the fact that my family couldn’t afford to buy a lot of books when I was young, the ability to discover things I’d never encountered before was one of the main appeals of the library!

  4. blackcountrylibrarian Post author

    Yes, I wonder if part of it is this control culture we live in where parents like to “protect” their children from the unknown, where they like to know exactly what their kids are doing/reading at school or college. I think it’s important that children have a bit of a private inner life from their parents!


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