Are librarians an endangered species?

Let’s hope not. Actually, let’s not leave it to hope. Let’s campaign to ensure librarians aren’t casualties of over-stretched school or council budgets. Kids need books and librarians know books best. A recession without good books is a depression, from where I’m sitting.

I reckon I owe a lot to librarians. Partly because I was an advanced reader in primary school and therefore annoying to the teacher flat out dealing with the kids under the bulk of the bell curve. So I regularly got shunted off to the library. There the librarian would match books to my interests or suggest new ideas for me to explore.

This is why I had the title character in Game as Ned spend so much time in the library. I was interested in the idea of stories as a source of courage – so there was no better place to put Ned.

During secondary school and early university I entered some writing competitions and, at one point, ended up getting second prize from a local library. Funnily enough, almost 20 years later, after being made redundant from a full-time job and returning to creative writing part time, I entered the same competition at the same library … and came second again. I prefer to see that as consistency, rather than failing to make progress. (Smiling)

You can find the New York Times article that inspired this post here.
Like every good library, it’s worth a browse.

2 thoughts on “Are librarians an endangered species?”

  1. Hey there,

    I stumbled upon your blog after seeing your residency at Inside A Dog.

    As a librarian myself, I must admit that I’m often drawn more into books (and it happens often in YA books!) that feature librarians – to the point where I’ll judge the author based on their portrayal of the librarian!

    It’s sad that schools are choosing to staff their libraries by para-professionals (or even parent volunteers), rather than hire qualified teacher-librarians to run school libraries. If we don’t embed a passion for reading into children at that vital point in their development, then it really will affect their quality of life.

    And that’s the important point – librarians may not necessarily be “essential” in terms of school curriculum, but they definitely make an important difference in fostering an appreciation for literature and learning amongst students.

    (Okay, off my soapbox now.)

    P.S. Really enjoyed Game As Ned.

  2. Thanks Andrew. I absolutely agree that librarians are the gatekeepers to the joy of reading – particularly for children whose parents don’t read / don’t read to them. Long live your profession!

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