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School librarian organises mass lobby at Westminster
A SCHOOL librarian from Basingstoke has organised a mass lobby at Westminster.
Barbara Band, a mother-of-two, who works at The Emmbrook School, in Berkshire, will join other librarians, authors, teachers, parents and students from across the country at a march in support of school libraries.
The protest will call on the Government to make sure that every child has equal access to the knowledge and information that a good school library provides.
Those taking part in the demonstration believe that every school should have a library and professional staff to help children find information, including online, so they understand how to assess its accuracy.
There are fears that as the Government hands more power to schools, including tough budget decisions, some headteachers could cut school libraries, as it is not compulsory for secondary schools in England and Wales to have one.
The protest comes as research from the National Literacy Trust reveals that one in six adults in the UK has a literacy level below that expected of an 11-year-old.
Mrs Band, 56, from Elvetham Rise, Chineham, said: “I’m tremendously lucky to work in a school that fully supports their library and to have experienced first-hand how exposure to a wide range of reading resources can inspire students and encourage them to become readers.
“This mass lobby demands that all children should have this opportunity and that reading for pleasure should not be left to chance. It should be embedded and sustained in the school ethos.”
Children’s author Alan Gibbons is supporting the lobby.
He said: “School libraries are the custodians of information and research, access to literacy and literature. They are the ambassadors of dreams and inspiration. We need them more than ever.”