Paradise will be a kind of library

Or so Jose Louis Borges imagined.

If Borges is looking down now from his bookish paradise on my town of Doncaster, then I guess he’d be equating it with Dante’s eighth circle of hell, which houses, among other things, the souls of thieves, as our library service is being systematically stripped: a process that started long before the current round of public sector cuts.

One of my students, Olivia, alerted me recently to one of the most startling manifestations of this cultural vandalism. The number of qualified librarians employed in Doncaster Library Service (covering the geographically largest metropolitan borough in the country) has dropped from 26 to 2.

I just sneaked under the wire in completing a well-hidden consultation survey that finishes tomorrow, on the archaic council website, having only discovered it thanks to the Save Doncaster Libraries campaign.

As a teacher I regularly encounter students who are unable to access at home the online resources I (and many of their classmates) take for granted. I advise them to go to their local library where internet access is free. I regularly have students who are wanting to pursue language investigations or extended projects on topics that require material unavailable in the school library. I advise them to seek the expertise of the information professionals at their local library.

For many of them, such advice is already futile as they are likely to find the door of their library closed at the sort of times a student is likely to be able to access it.

Council budget cuts are sadly inevitable, and libraries are a soft target. But the softer the target, the more damage is done when it is hit.

(So: use your local library and get involved in the Save Doncaster’s Libraries campaign.

2 thoughts on “Paradise will be a kind of library

  1. Hi Anthony

    Thank you for dropping by to leave a comment on our LRC Blog. It was my pleasure to leave a comment for your Year 8 class – I really loved the activity you were doing with your class!

    Our local libraries aren’t suffering in the same way yours are….yet! It’s our Teacher-Librarians that are at greatest risk here in Australia. I am a rare commodity as a full-time TL in a primary school!! TLs have recently managed to convince the government to undertake a Senate Inquiry into school libraries and Teacher-Librarians and we are awaiting the report and hoping it will address many of our issues and concerns. With the recent global financial crisis our goverment decided to create jobs by providing funding for schools for new buildings (BER – Building the Education Revolution). Many schools are building new libraries, but unfortunately many won’t be managed by a trained Teacher- Librarian!!

    In this Information and Digital Age we are living in it’s so vital that our students have access to and are taught how to access, evaluate and use the information they require whether it be from a local or school library. I hope there is enough uproar about your Doncaster Libraries that something can be done before they disappear altogether…

    Kim 🙂

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