A New School Library...


Like most of the writers I know, I spent improbable amounts of time in the library when I was at school, and it's saddening that school libraries seem under threat these days just as much as public ones. (There's an Early Day Motion going through parliament about them, which you might like to ask your MP to sign - I've tried e-mailing mine, Mel Stride, but as yet have had no response - I'll let you know if I hear from him.)*

Anyway, given all this gloom, it's nice to hear of a school which has refurbished its library.  Joseph Hammett goes to The Boswells School in Chelmsford, Essex, and he asked me to come and officially open it. I've never officially opened anything before, so I hope I did all right ... Here's Joseph's own account of the day from The Boswells Bulletin. 

While I was in Chelmsford I also got the chance to visit Nikki Gamble's brilliant children's bookshop Just Imagine, and had tea with some keen Mortal Engines readers - as usual, Sarah McIntyre has beaten me to blogging about that, and she also has a blog about the Goblins triumphant defeat at the Roald Dahl Funny Prize (congratulations to the winner, Jamie Thompson, and his illustrator Freya Hartas).  I didn't really mind losing because there was CAKE (thank you, Scholastic), and while I was in London I got to meet comics artist Lucy Knisley and Ash Mistry author Sarwat Chadda, so I still felt like a WINNER.

*EDIT: I have now had a letter from Mel Stride. Unfortunately as a Parliamentary Private Secretary he 'does not, by convention, sign any Early Day Motions, as doing so is likely to breach the Ministerial Code's rules on collective responsibility.'  He also says that 'while  the Government has said that it would like to see all schools have a well-stocked library and all secondary schools employ an information professional... this should be a local decision, not one mandated by Government.'

This last part seems slightly weaselly to me - I'm all for localism, and no fan of extra laws, but the Government already dictates on far less important aspects of the educational system than libraries.  However, I'm grateful to Mr Stride for his reply, and I hope it won't discourage anyone else from writing to their MP about this.  Yours may turn out not to be a PPS or a Government loyalist. 

5 comments:

Justin Hill said...

Marvelous. I bet that was great to be able to open a new library for them. Nice to give something back like that. The kids now have access to as much bumwipe as they need. You'll be opening supermarkets next!!!

Anonymous said...

Hi! I was one of the students at the talk in the library and assembly. Thanks for coming to our school, it was very interesting hearing about how you became a righter and doing some of the illustrations for horrible historys/maths; I didn't know you were a great drawer too (I love art and drawing)! P.S. Have you done a life in the day before? We've been doing them at school and it would be really interesting to see your's.

Philip Reeve said...

Thanks Justin, and hello Anonymous. I haven't done A Life in the Day - what is it?

Anonymous said...

It's a basically an autobiography which is about one of your days which should tell the reader what your life is like. They do it in papers I think... well, they used to do it.

Philip Reeve said...

Ah, papers; I remember them! Trouble is, my days are pretty boring... but maybe I'll give it a go.

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