School principals have reacted strongly to the latest announcement that the National Library curriculum service will be phasing out its provision of non-fiction books in favour of providing digital resources.
“Digital resources are great for supporting pedagogy but are no replacement for books,” president of the New Zealand Principals’ Federation Denise Torrey said.
“Children flock to read non-fiction books and all schools rely on the National Library to meet that demand.”
One sector particularly affected by the changes is the rural sector.
“Not all schools and students have access to reliable technology to make use of digital resources. The National Library’s shift to digital delivery penalises rural schools as many have inadequate broadband connections, if at all,” Ms Torrey said.
“Professionals value the National Library’s non-fiction collection to support children’s learning on a variety of topics such as studies of volcanoes.
“It is a ridiculous waste of money for hundreds of schools to be buying the same books to support the same study topics when they could all borrow them from the one central collection,” MsTorrey said.
She expressed her disappointment that sector heads were not given a chance to engage with the National Library review team over this issue and bring the profession’s rich and authentic contextual experience to the debate.