Cuts in School Libraries or How to Decrease Students’ Level of Education

by louisp on February 7, 2015 - 5:46pm

On an article from CTV News named School Boards Have to Make Budget Choice, Says Yves Bolduc published on August 28, 2014, Quebec education minister Yves Bolduc made a controversy by saying, on August 26, to the French newspaper Le Devoir that there was enough books in school libraries. This source is reliable because, the day after, Bolduc himself went on national television to restate his position by asking librarians to spend as much on books as the previous years. However, he put emphasis on the fact that libraries will still have to find a way to face the recent budgetary cuts imposed. For instance, the Lester B. Pearson School Board would be forced to spend 37% less money in its library if the measure was adopted. According to Suanna Stain Day, the administrative head of the school board, it would be impossible to do because the administrative budgets for school libraries are already very thin. Since now, no such measures have been applied yet.

 

Since I was 13 years old, I have been doing community in service every week in my little 5,000 citizens’ municipal and scholar library and I totally disagree with Yves Bolduc’s position because I think that libraries budgets in small communities are already too small. For instance, where I was volunteering, at the library of Vercheres, there was a ratio of two paid employees for 35 volunteers. Therefore, when the news came out, the librarian was very shocked because she would not have the choice to cut in the scholar book purchase budgets because the two employees are paid by the city, and not by the Ministry of Education. This measure worries me as well because I noticed that children do not have the same way of reading as adults do. Indeed, when an adult wants a specific document and that I do not have it, he will generally look for alternatives, but when a child has a specific book in mind, it is usually very hard to suggest him something else. For instance, just last Saturday, a little boy asked me if we had a very popular series of book called Paddington, but, unfortunately, our librarian has to make choices. When he left with his mother, his bag was empty. This example demonstrates that in order to motivate children at school and to ensure their success, they must be allowed to choose what they want to read because if they just read the required textbooks during all their education, they are more likely to perceive reading as something that is boring. Finally, preventing children from reading what they want to read would be like preventing their access to creativity and imagination, which is, I think, the most important element of their development.

 

To see CTV News’ article: <http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/school-boards-have-to-make-budget-choice-says-yves-bolduc-1.2749131>

 

To see Le Devoir’s article: <http://www.ledevoir.com/societe/education/416356/la-moitie-des-budgets-des-bibliotheques-scolaires-risque-d-etre-ampute>

 

[Video] Yves Bolduc’s point of view on Radio-Canada (French) : < http://ici.radio-canada.ca/nouvelles/politique/2014/08/26/004-bolduc-bibliotheques-scolaires.shtml>

Comments

As a person that rarely reads and that spends very little time in libraries, I thought your personal perspective on this situation very enlightening. I wouldn't have been able to describe the article as well as you did since, unlike you, I have never had any experience as a volunteer in a library. I also wouldn't have been able to dig deeper into the situation as you did when describing how reading is important to be able to develop a creative mind, especially for children. I never really though about the influence libraries have on children before reading your opinion. That is why you are best in position to describe the article you chose. Your experience as a volunteer in a library has served you well!

In any case, I barely read physical content, much less in libraries, but I find that cuts to public services should be only seen as a last resort option. While I kind of understand WHY cuts are being amde to libraries, I don't see how they will fix anything. I keep seeing austerity in the news and cuts to public programs anywhere, but what does this cut money go to? Take Champlain for example: our 1GB RAM computers are still ABYSMALLY slow and our WiFi makes North Korea's intranet look good.

I liked hearing your insight on the matter, and it sort of made me realize that while money spent in libraries might not benefit me directly, it still matters to other people; and I support the right of libraries to be adequately funded. I do seriously hope that enough pressure is put on the government to change its budget cutting practices, because we all saw how well austerity went down in Greece.

It is interesting how you describe your personal experience. You are well placed to know what happens and it brings another perspective on the issue. Also, the way you introduce your opinion and own reaction towards this problem enhanced the meaning of your article, since it shows that this problem really happening and have repercussions. Finally, you did a good summary, very clear and precise with a good structure.

I see that many agree on the relevance of your personal experience in understanding the issue. Although you are talking about a local situation, I am pretty sure it can be extended to other libraries in Quebec. Being an avid reader, I can tell you that it is not only children who want their books at any price, me too! You also raise an important point to which many of us can relate: if we only read mandatory books at school, we end up finding reading arduous and dull. Each person needs the book he will enjoy. Finally, you bring the subject a step further by saying it will affect children development. Congratulations for bringing reflection into your text!