Thursday, July 15, 2010

Dermot Bolger on School Libraries

There is a brilliant editorial by the fantastic Dermot Bolger in the Irish Daily Mail, 15 July. Entitled 'Why on earth are we denying our children the joy of reading books?', Bolger recounts some of his early memories of books and discusses the role reading played in his life when, at the age of ten years, he lost his mother. "I needed an alternative imaginary world to survive. I needed to be swept along in adventure books and mysteries - texts that did not instruct me about rules of verbs or mathematics, but simply gave me imaginative freedom and a safe place where I could explore emotion."
His following discussion then explores the importance of school libraries in the lives of young people, particularly those who would not have access to books or even the concept of reading for pleasure. Bolger's defence of the JCPS Demonstration Library Project (launched in 2001) is eloquent, indeed. "They allow students to learn about life, not through the necessary strictures of some curriculum or the relentless pressure of a points race, but through providing a safe haven where teenagers can stumble into other people's imaginations and find that they chime with their own."
Dermot Bolger's new book for teenage readers is 'New Town Soul', published by the wonderful new imprint of New Island Press, Little Island.

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