Content-type: text/html ~ Stephen's Web ~ The Crisis in Canada’s School Libraries: The Case for Reform and Re-Investment

Stephen Downes

Knowledge, Learning, Community
This report, released last June, has been making the rounds. The central premise is that there is a positive correlation between well-funded school libraries and greater student achievement. The implication, of course, is that libraries should receive more funding to buy more books and other resources. Now I am the first to admit the importance of libraries in my own development; I still remember pulling Arthur C. Clark's A Fall of Moondust off the shelf for the first time at the Township library, and John Christopher's The White Mountains in the school library. But that was in the 1970s. And that's how this report feels. It is not surprising that a report sponsored by publishers (as this one is) would advocate the buying of books, but someone has to explain to my why this is better than providing access online to all the books in the world. The report's short discussion of this - based on students' inability to find resources on the web in 1997 and 1999 - is not convincing. Its discussion of their use of databases - based on a 1990 study - is even less so. Considering the amount of money we, collectively, send to publishers, I would expect a stronger justification.

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Stephen Downes Stephen Downes, Casselman, Canada

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Last Updated: Jul 18, 2024 10:49 a.m.

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