Thousands of New Zealanders have signed a petition to stop cuts to National Library lending services to schools, with New Zealand’s favourite celebrity Lorde and Man Booker prize- winning author Eleanor Catton even weighing in on the debate.
“Our members are concerned that the changes will hit hardest in rural and technology-poor schools,” Marianne Elliott, of campaigning group ActionStation said.
“Unless inequality of digital access is first addressed, these changes may only reinforce existing inequalities in our education system, and in our society.”
Last year, 16,000 teachers made 40,000 requests for almost a million hard-copy items via the National Library’s curriculum topic support service. From July, this service will be cut. The overall savings from the new Services to Schools strategy is estimated to be $392,000 a year, the equivalent of just one year’s salary of our highest-earning MPs.
In a press release, the Minister responsible, Peter Dunne accused the Labour Party of “whipping up anxiety and fear” and said that by opposing the cuts Labour “want to limit New Zealand children to learning about topics for which there are books within the National Library”.
“ActionStation members want the Minister to know that we just want to ensure that every child in New Zealand has a fair chance to learn about topics for which there are books within the National Library,” Ms Elliott said.
ActionStation was launched in July 2014 as a platform for people who stand for social fairness, environmental sustainability and a transparent democracy. It has over 20,000 members.