To be honest: School libraries are not up to scratch
Many school libraries are very weak. For example, my library has old classics such as The Famous Five by Enid Blyton, which my grandmother has read. Boring! There’s Goosebumps, by RL Stein, which is a little out of date, and tonnes more classics which most of my class just don’t like and the only people who read them are very heavy readers.
I’m a fifth-class boy in a primary school in Co Wicklow. I love to read and I get through about five books a month. Mum and Dad always encouraged me to read and I know that books have helped me to become smarter.
I know my imagination has grown wilder and I come up with quirky ideas, and I think reading has a lot to do with this.
Not all the “cool” kids like any ideas that are different and unusual and I think this might be because they don’t read and don’t use their imaginations much.
I wonder if this is because the school library is poor.
Not every parent encourages their kids to read. The parent might be too busy, or they might not be used to reading themselves, because they also had a bad library or just didn’t have access to books.
Many children depend on school libraries because it might be their only source of books, especially if they have no libraries in their area or just can’t get to their local library.
If the school library isn’t great and if it doesn’t catch their imagination when they are young, they might never get in the habit of reading.
If a child is weak at school subjects, they will struggle if they do not have a good school library. My library is so bad I have to bring in my own book.
I naturally like reading but not everybody does.
Many books are for younger kids and are not suitable for my age group (10-13). Some books are even a bit too advanced for my age, for example Gone by Michael Grant has about 660 pages and it’s for older teens, so what is it doing in our library?
There’s only one modern book, Billionaire Boy by David Walliams, and just one Harry Potter book, but it’s the fifth in a series of seven. My own library has some books I have not read yet because they are too advanced, but I hope to get to them.
When it comes to nonfiction such as encyclopaedias, there’s almost nothing there, so we look at factual books only when we absolutely have to.
The solution is for pupils to bring in their own second-hand books, which they know the class will enjoy.
We are the people who know best we what we want to read, and we are the ones who should be making the decisions. It’s time for a national book drive.
This column gives a voice to people within the education system. Contributions to firstname.lastname@example.org