26th May, 2019

School library help could be axed

Rob George 17th Jun, 2018

A LONG-running service which has promoted reading and literacy in Worcester’s schools since 1933 could be set for the axe with county council chiefs blaming falling interest for their move.

County council chiefs have launched a consultation with schools across Worcestershire on proposals to close the Schools’ Library Service from September.

The total number of schools buying into the service has fallen from 216 to just 52 since 2000.

The service, which has helped schools to manage and organise their school libraries and resource as well as providing books and promoting reading and literacy, has been running since 1933.

One of the key features of the lifeline allows schools borrowing books for a set period rather than having to buy them and according to Worcestershire County Council’s website, a typical primary school can spend £2,833 with the service but receive £15,014 worth of books.

Schools have been sent a questionnaire to encourage them to provide feedback and make alternative suggestions as education chiefs at County Hall seek to discover how any potential closure would impact schools across the county before any decision is finalised.

A range of alternative options has been set out for consideration in the questionnaire, which would allow Worcestershire County Council to continue their links with schools through the Public Library Service.

Coun Lucy Hodgson, cabinet member for Communities, said the move was not a ‘done deal’ and urged schools across Pershore to speak up as part of the consultation.

“We’re very proud the county’s libraries have evolved to meet the demands of today’s students, embracing digital channels as a way of providing information. Unfortunately, we have seen a decreased demand for the School Library service and attempts to bring additional buy in to the service have proved unsuccessful.

“We appreciate schools may have comments and concerns about this and I would urge them to complete the survey so that their feedback can be taken into consideration before a final decision is made.”

Schools will have until Friday, June 29 to submit their response.

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