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Monday, 2 June 2008

Why Libraries Matter

According to The Guardian, several publishers are planning to put recommended age ranges on the covers of their children's books.

It strikes me as an earnest but dumb idea. How do you categorise Enid Blyton, whose continuing popularity depends on children whose reading age is racing ahead of their emotional maturity? How do you keep the slow reader reading when the only suitable material is branded for significantly younger children?

And who the hell knows what's age-appropriate anyway? At 11 I was reading Richmal Crompton, Ian Fleming, R M Ballantyne and The Rocket Ship Saboteurs. And by 13 I'd discovered Alfred Bester and had a go at Joyce's Ulysses.

Didn't get very far, but there was no one to tell me I shouldn't.

But then, this isn't about reading. It's about buying. Every book I mentioned, I found in the Library. It cost me nothing to explore.

1 comment:

Hoppy Uniatz said...

I'm guessing it's just intended as a guideline for those who aren't familiar with books as perhaps some of us maybe--it seems to be a logical extension of the way libraries categorise kids books nowadays.

My 9 year old son regularly gets books out on my library ticket because for some reason the Grown-Ups in Hampshire Library Services consider Terry Pratchett graphic novels (and others) to be too far above his reading age.

Oh, and they categorise CSI novels as books for teenagers...