Pullman: 'every school should have a good library'

Philip Pullman has spoken out in defence of school libraries, saying it is "very important that every school, secondary or primary, should have a properly staffed, and properly equipped and properly furnished library."

Speaking on Radio 4's "Today" programme this morning (5th March) on the topic of children's reading, the Society of Authors president said he had spoken to education minister Michael Gove about the importance of protecting school libraries.

He said: "I said the most important thing you can do is school libraries – get them properly equipped."

The author also praised the Schools Library Service, and criticised wider local authority cuts to public library services. He said: "The Schools Library Service is gone in a lot of authorities, along with other library cuts, it is one of the most important things that can be cut."

Speaking about literacy, he said both librarians and teachers were needed to help encourage children to read for pleasure. He said: "A properly thought-out programme of reading encouragement for children would include both teachers and librarians being aware of what child is reading now, and having books to hand, not to push children at them or say 'you're going to read this or your score will go down', but just say, 'look, you enjoyed that book, what about this one?' That sort of thing, it does depend on the funding, and does depend on the right supply of books."