[DWJ] Petition on school libraries

Belben, Philip (Energy Wholesale) Philip.Belben at eon-uk.com
Fri Jan 5 05:44:34 EST 2007


Farah, quoting Elizabeth B:

> > <<http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/schoollibraries/>>
> >
> > We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to make the provision
> > of professionally staffed libraries within all schools, both
> > secondary and primary, statutory.
> >
> Not to be too controversional Elizabeth, but why?
> 
> The library at my school was run by one of the English teachers. She
> was fabulous and an inspiration.
> 
> If this isn't jobs for the boys/girls you'll need to explain why a
> librarian's qualification is a necessity for a school library.

Well, the first thing is that the petition says nothing about a
librarian's qualification.  A professional English teacher is a
professional, after all.  In some ways I think it a good thing that the
petition has not tried to specify this sort of thing; but it does allow
plenty of scope for the government to mess things up.

That said, our head of English hated SF and Fantasy, with the result
that there was almost none in the school library.  One might hope that a
professional librarian might take a wider view, and make the
acquisitions a bit less dependent on teachers' prejudices.

> To put my query in context: I am watching with alarm the growing
> demand for vocational MAs for roles that, when I left school at 18,
> were A level or first degree entry.

I agree, but I think this is a different problem.  A few years ago, the
government tried to encourage more and more people to get university
degrees, and I think about a third of people entering the workforce have
degrees, compared to a tenth beforehand.  I think that employers are now
finding that many people have degrees who wouldn't have had them before,
and they are asking for higher degrees simply as a way to filter
applicants, rather than because of any need for higher skills.

I agree it is a bad thing, but I don't think it is closely related to
the other question, of what constitutes "professional" staff for a
library.

Philip.
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