Saturday 4 February 2012

Schools-libraries; libraries-schools. Make the marriage work.

Here it is again:

As part of every child's welcome pack when they enter state education, they should be given a library ticket with a map showing where they can find the nearest libraries or mobile library stops, along with a simple explanation as to what the library ticket entitles the child to. How many books, for how long and if there are fines (or not) for non-return.

It's as simple as that.

All it needs is for Nick Gibb to talk to Ed Vaizey and arrange it. In the last government all it needed was for Ed Balls to talk to Margaret Hodge to arrange it. I even wrote it out on a piece of paper and gave it to Margaret Hodge when she asked me for a paper for her libraries review. I now think I was asked to do it so that it could be ignored.

What is the matter with these people? They are paid large sums of money to run these services on our behalf. They should be doing everything they can to encourage people to want to use them. Why can't that simple piece of bureaucracy be done? There are many people who are print-phobic, form-phobic who imagine that going into a library and borrowing books would involve all sorts of passing across of information, some of which might compromise them in some way. This would help erode such feelings and misgivings.

A child entering school has proof of address and a named parent or guardian. Give them each, every single one of them, a ticket, a map and what they can get for it. Tell them it doesn't cost anything. They've already paid for it. It's that simple.

Just do it.