At the beginning of the school year, I heard that Houghton Valley School had to ask parents if anyone had a caravan to use as a library because the school didn’t have space. Schools are under so much pressure to make ends meet that our school libraries are being cut. I started to hear from other schools that they couldn’t have a library anymore because there simply wasn’t enough space for teaching the kids. Schools are now using library spaces as classrooms to fit kids in.
At the moment in Aotearoa, 178 schools don’t have a library. 330 schools have a smaller library than what the Ministry of Education recommends is useful for kid’s learning. Nikki Kaye, as Associate Minister for Education, says: “schools have chosen to not build libraries or to build smaller libraries”. All I see though is schools caught between a rock and hard place. Schools want to have libraries, but there just isn’t the funding or space available to keep them.
We expect books to form the backbone of kid’s learning. Parents are horrified that school libraries have become luxury items. Kids need to have access to books that they enjoy, that they want to pick up. We need kids to catch the bug of reading from an early age to develop a love for information and knowledge.
It has become apparent that if we want to properly fund education, we are going to need a change of Government.