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Fight over school libraries will continue, says Gibbons
25.01.10 | Benedicte Page
Children's author and library campaigner Alan Gibbons has told Ed Balls, secretary of state for children, schools and families, that he will continue his fight to make school libraries statutory despite government's rejection of a recent petition to that effect.
The petition, organised by Gibbons, attracted over 5,700 signatures and the support of bodies including CILIP, ASCEL and The National Literacy Trust.
In an open letter to Balls, Gibbons wrote: "As you will know, HMG rejected the petition, restating its position that it gives money to schools to support reading and permits them to decide how to do it. I think this position is wrong. Without a librarian to coordinate reading for pleasure and information retrieval, schools will fail to promote literacy at the highest level."
He added: "Oftsed has recently concluded that not enough children, especially boys, read for pleasure and it is affecting their life chances. Making school libraries statutory is essential to changing that picture."
Gibbons said he would be discussing with friends and colleagues in the professional association and public sector trade unions how the campaign would be strengthened to persuade government to change its mind.