LETTER: Brought to book

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Sir: It was reassuring to note in your article "Read all about it: low standard of libraries is damaging learning ... " (7 February) that the Chief Inspector of Schools, David Bell, has turned attention to the lamentable state of many school libraries in his recent report.

It is pleasing to see he has deduced that a well-staffed, well-resourced school library can have an impact on learning. Best of all, he points out that the expertise of qualified school librarians is frequently under- used. My only criticism is his "outdated" linking of the library with the English department. As a scientist with a master's degree in information science, I find much of the teaching and advisory work that I am involved in is cross-curricular.

Unlike many of my colleagues I also receive appropriate remuneration for my qualifications. If school librarians are permitted to help raise standards, by teaching pupils about the effective use of education resources, then their postgraduate and professional qualifications need recognition too and that means a respectable basic salary. Many experienced chartered librarians are employed by schools at less than two-thirds the wages of a newly qualified teacher - not much of an incentive Mr Bell.


College Librarian

Epsom College

Epsom, Surrey