I’ve just read an article in the Telegraph which has quite annoyed me!
‘Boom time for children’s books as sales soar, but where are readers?’ is the title of the article (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/mediatechnologyandtelecoms/11681814/Boom-time-for-childrens-books-as-sales-soar-but-where-are-readers.html)
Here a publishing house is complaining about cuts in schools and libraries putting books out of reach for children. The complaint that it is harder to reach young readers is just ridiculous. What are those author/illustrators doing to get out there? They need to promote their books in the small towns not just the big cities. Why aren’t the publishing houses sending out posters, information etc to promote new books/authors and getting the opinions that really matter? Or even better sending out those new authors who are ‘struggling’ to get noticed to meet the audience they would like to actually read their books!
Our school library is in a working class town in a quite difficult to get to area, also referred to as a cul-de-sac (Barrow in Furness, Cumbria). Therefore we have difficulty affording authors/illustrators coming into our school because of the added travel/accommodation expenses. We were fortunate enough to win an author visit from the National Literacy Trust and Josh Lacey came to our school for a mornings visit. This was a huge success; the children really enjoyed it and still refer to it now.
We are really lucky at our school because the management team are all to familiar with the deprived area in which we live and are aware of the fact that many children do not even own a book. This means that the budget for the library is quite buoyant for books, comics etc. We also take full advantage of the Cumbria School Library Service and order in boxes of new books which are hot off the press. I also spend a lot of time seeking out new publications to widen the children’s choice.
I am fully aware that it is my passion for keeping the children reading which maintains the profile of the library and the excitement in new books, but come on authors/illustrators/publishers get yourself out there at reasonable prices that schools can afford, you’ll reap the rewards in the end!