Knowing as we do that reading is the key to knowledge and understanding, essential to the fulfilling of young lives, and knowing too there are at least a million children in this country not fully literate when they leave primary school, we all accept that not enough has been done to bring children to books and books to children.
It is the task of all of us as parents, grandparents and teachers to do all we can to encourage their enjoyment of reading. But it is the task of the community to support this endeavour. Illiteracy is most common, we know, amongst those who live in poverty or close to poverty. It is particularly those families that need libraries. The price of a book from a shop may seem cheap to many. For many, such a purchase is simply not possible. We have a duty surely as a society to make sure that no child is denied access to literacy and literature because of social and financial deprivation. Every one of them has a right to be literate.
Books should be available to all, free at the point of delivery. Only then can young lives be turned around, horizons widened, understanding and empathy deepened. Libraries and particularly the librarians who work in them, whether in schools or in the community, are essential if we are to do this, for us all, but especially for those who need them most: those with least, young and old.
Author , War Horse.