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Do libraries have a future in modern schools? May 1, 2012

Posted by Jonathan Barnes, editor in Independent Education, Magazines.
Tags: ,

We are seeing plenty of examples of how technology is revolutionising the classroom – changing how teachers teach and how pupils learn.

Indeed, the latest issue of Prep School magazine has a focus on IT. Pupils from Sedbergh School are featured on the cover with their iPads; inside their Headmaster Scott Carnochan explains how he is determined to modernise learning. Elsewhere, Stephen Locker, Deputy Head at The Mead School in Tunbridge Wells, explains the concept of ‘flipped classrooms’, where lessons are supplemented by Podcasts and blogs.

But, within the pages of the 74th edition of the magazine, there is also a strong defence of one of the most traditional mainstays of any school – the library. With the advent of iPads and e-readers, is the library now under threat? Fiona Booth, librarian at Dulwich Prep School, puts up the case for the defence, arguing the library is one of the last remaining places of ‘sanctuary’ and ‘mental solitude’.

Here’s an extract from Fiona’s article:

‘The majority of prep school children probably read for pleasure to some extent; they live in an environment, at school and at home, where reading is likely to be encouraged. But, as we all know, the written word in any form is competing with a vast array of other attractions.

‘How can the school library (devoted not only to reading but also to those increasingly outdated objects, books) possibly vie for their attention? How far should it adapt to cater to the perceived preferences of the Internet Generation? I would like to suggest that it shouldn’t – or, at least, that it should limit the extent to which it does.

‘It is a fact that our children have a short attention span relative to previous generations; that their default activities are the mute absorption of visual media and a virtually incessant interaction in various forms. Do we, as parents and educators, say ‘that’s the way it is; that’s what they want’ and give them more of it – or do we strive to show them something different?’

To read the article in full, click here.

For more information about Prep School magazine, including subscription information, click here.



1. imaginatemum - May 1, 2012

Interesting post. I hope school libraries have a future. I have noticed that when my children have projects a book on the topic written for their age group is much easier for them to extract information from than anything online.

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