One of the great joys I’ve had as the Federal Member for Bendigo is donating new books to schools in the electorate.

If a school has a book club, I make a cash donation so that the students can choose.

It’s so critical for our schools to have libraries.

Not only do they provide a safe and inclusive space, but reading teaches children literacy skills, develops their imagination, and builds research skills for the future.

It’s disappointing to see that due to funding constraints, many school libraries are understaffed or closing altogether.

Many libraries are not kept up to date; some don’t even stock current atlases or educational materials.

Smaller schools really struggle to purchase new books as, sadly, new library books are almost seen as a luxury item.

It’s the reason why I spend time donating books to schools across the region.

Research shows a clear link between school libraries and library staff to improvements in reading and academic success in students.

School libraries play a key role in developing engaged readers who have the capability and motivation to read beyond their years at school.

They also teach students to find and use information they need to succeed in future life.

 A library can also provide a quiet, safe space for young people to enjoy.

Many Bendigo electorate schools are working to keep book clubs alive, encouraging young people to get involved and talk about literature.

Library professionals can also help students find the most relevant information, identify credible sources and correctly cite references.

Despite the growth of the world of technology, there’s nothing quite like reading a physical book. There’s still creates great excitement in that.

Just ask a young community member what their favourite book to read is.

There’s always a cheer when I present a school with new Harry Potter, Roald Dahl and even Captain Underpants books.

Reading can help children expand their horizons, build empathy, see the world through others’ experiences, and find answers to issues they may face.

I encourage all central Victorians to get reading and make sure reading is socially acceptable.

 

By LISA CHESTERS
Federal Member for Bendigo