Keep all library books accessible to all children in Western Australia
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The State Library of Western Australia (SLWA) has announced that as of 1st September 2018, it will no longer provide inter-library loans for several items, including junior and young adult titles. This is a short-sighted cost cutting measure that will affect many children, young people, and families in WA.
Until now, library members in WA have been able to request materials from other libraries and collect them at their local library. This is an invaluable service for people living in rural or remote areas, where libraries have smaller collections and the distance to the next library can be nearly a whole day’s travel. Although local libraries endeavor to provide popular titles, they have a limited purchasing budget and cannot cater to every child’s interests.
Many children in rural and remote areas have lower literacy levels or learning difficulties and finding books that will engage them can be difficult. Denying some children in WA access to the full range of books is inequitable, and flies in the face of efforts to improve the literacy levels in some of WA’s most disadvantaged regions.
As a mother of 3 young children and an OT who has worked in rural and remote regions for many years, I appreciate the value of books to promote learning and parental/ child interactions, especially in reluctant readers. Audio and e-books do not promote the same skills or interactions as physical books, which allow the use of multiple senses, reduces screen time, and allows younger children to engage more fully with the text.
My local library in Broome has wonderful librarians that provide a family-friendly environment and always go out of their way to identify books that will spark an individual child’s interest. Often, these books are ordered from libraries elsewhere in WA.
The signers of this petition sincerely hope that the SLWA will overturn their decision to suspend this service. We strongly believe this decision should be reviewed immediately, rather than waiting out the 12month trial.
We must speak out to ensure this important service continues to operate.
Please sign and share this petition to ensure all children in WA can access library books, no matter where they live or how small their local library is!
“Changes to inter library loans from 1 September 2018”
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