Dozens of British authors and others have written an open letter to the UK Department of Education calling for action in the wake of a report from the Libraries All Party Parliamentary Group, entitled The Beating Heart of the School, urging that the Department should supervise proper standards of services in school libraries. “Every secondary school in the UK should have a good library” declared the report.
Published in The Guardian, the letter states:
We – authors and illustrators, teachers, librarians, parents and others – are keen that this recommendation does not just become another piece of wishful thinking, and call on the Department for Education to act immediately on the report’s conclusions to gather data on library provision and instruct Ofsted to include libraries in its remit. This is urgent. Schools lost 280 librarians last year.
Authors signing the letter included Malorie Blackman, Children’s laureate, Andrew Motion, Michael Holroyd, Kevin Crossley-Holland, Philip Pullman, Anne Fine, Roger McGough, and Michael Rosen, as well as Nicola Solomon, chief executive of the Society of Authors.
“It is vital that all schools have a good library to ensure children develop essential literacy and digital literacy skills in order to fulfil their potential,” the letter insisted. Whether the departure of Michael Gove from the Department of Education will make this any more likely to come about remains to be seen.