20% of school library budget redirected

A new private school like Kaiyo Academy alone owns an enviable inventory of more than 8,000 books in its library. Compare this to the dismal paucity of library books at local public schools…is it any wonder that academic standards are declining? Now if only parents would pay up their school lunch fees, so that schools don’t have to go into the red… (see press articles posted below).

Pssst…parents reading this, here’s a suggestion…DO donate your used kids’ books to your local public school library.

Over 60% of primary, middle school libraries don’t hold enough books

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Fewer than 40 percent of public primary and middle schools met government standards for the number of books in their libraries as of the end of fiscal 2004, accroding to Education, Science and Technology Ministry officials.
The ministry counted the number of books a public primary and middle school libraries to check whether the librararies held suficient stocks. The government standard for book numbers varies depending on the size of the school.

For fiscal 2002-2006, the ministry earmarked a budget of 13 billion yen per annum for the purchase of library books for public shcools. But the findings revealed the budget has only provided enough funds to replace existing titles and has produced only a marginal increase in book stocks.
According to the research, only 38 percent of primary schools and 32 percent of middle schools met the standard at the end of fiscal 2004. The figures remain almost unchanged from the end of fiscal 2003 when 36 percent of primary schools and 31 percent of middle shcools met the standard.
The ministry introduced a five-year plan in fiscal 2002 to boost book stocks 230 million to 270 million by the end of fiscal 2006.
However, the increase was only 18 million at the end of 2004, and it is now expected to be difficult to achieve the goal by the end of this fiscal year.

20% of school library budget redirected Kyodo News
More than 20 per cent of the central government’s budget of around 20 million yen provided to municipal governments for the purchase of books for school libraries in fiscal 2007 was redirected, according to education officials.
Most local governments told the Education, Science and Technology Ministry that they had used the money for other purposes because of financial difficulties, the officials said. The money was distributed as part of tax allocations to local governments, which municipalities are allowed to use at their discretion.
Aomori Prefecture used 38 percent of the money it received on school books, while Hokkaido used 43 percent and Shimane Prefecture used 47 percent, according to the officials.

Monday, May 12, 2008 (Daily Yomiuri)

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