For many people the idea of not being able to access books freely sounds crazy. We are used to libraries packed full of books, high street book shop chains, charity shops with a selection of second hand volumes, e-readers to download endless e-books and many other outlets giving access to books. However not all people are so lucky. We would like to think that not having access to books is something that is a problem only in developing countries with serious and widespread poverty problems. However, the truth is that children in all countries can have problems accessing books, particularly at home. While school libraries are usually well stocked some children may have no books at all at home.
The reasons for this are varied and complex. Some families may be unable to afford books, others may not see the value of books. Sadly many adults in the western world still struggle with reading and writing and may avoid having books in the house because they are embarrassed at their own illiteracy. Some children are in such great need of protection from violence, drugs and abuse that their need for education and reading is easy to overlook when their physical safety is such a high priority.
Regardless of the reasons for a lack of access to books it is still a terrible injustice that any child should have their education and well being compromised in such a way. Thankfully there are schemes out there that aim to remedy this, both at home in the UK and abroad.
One of my favourites is ‘Give a Book’ a charity which sends books to ‘anyone who might need them’, funded by donations from members of the public.