Academic journal article Australasian Public Libraries and Information Services

Young People, Reading and Public Libraries

Academic journal article Australasian Public Libraries and Information Services

Young People, Reading and Public Libraries

Article excerpt

In Australia and New Zealand we are belatedly, perhaps, seeing an increasing political interest in the critical issue of how we develop young people who can read, and who seek to do so.

In Australia the federal government's primary interest at present is how reading is taught in schools, as demonstrated by the national inquiry into the 'teaching of reading'. However, as explained in the Friends of Australia (Fola) Bookstart report to the nation published in Aplis December 2004 pages 196-217, the teaching of reading needs to start long before children go to school. Public libraries have, and are already playing, a significant - if little recognized--role in that.

As public libraries have capitalised on minimising the digital divide in the community, so too do they now have an opportunity to demonstrate their contribution to literacy development for the whole of the 'cradle to the grave' community they uniquely serve.

Another of those very useful government sponsored research reports from the UK emphasises their actual and potential role. Creative reading: young people, reading and public libraries is a 65 page report available at www.demos.co.uk. It aims

   to focus attention on libraries as creative institutions
   and on the underplayed potential of their work with young
   readers ... (their) power to help achieve our national
   ambitions should not be underestimated.

The beginning of the introduction to Creative reading states

* Creativity is widely accepted as a major driver of economic growth and prosperity. It is also important in terms of realizing human potential. …

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