One measure of any nation's long‐term commitment to culture, reading and learning is surely its investment in the provision of library and information services to children. The aim of this article is to describe the approach to charting the UK's performance and to identify some issues of global relevance.
Separate questionnaires were circulated to all public library authorities and schools library services in the UK. The distribution of questionnaires is carried out electronically. Potential respondents are contacted by e‐mail and the questionnaire is included as an attachment. Up to 2000‐2001, questionnaires were distributed on paper by post.
A ten‐year review of data allows one to draw the conclusion that little is changing dramatically. The last ten years have seen a remarkable change in the nature and magnitude of information media. The computer has transformed the way in which children interact with one another and the wider world and books can be bought with the groceries at the supermarket. In this scenario, the children's library is necessarily evolving. The question is: is it doing it fast enough?
It is difficult to maintain complete comparability in a series of this kind because one is dealing with a range of dynamic factors. For example, in the case of new authorities and rearranged boundaries. As a result, in many cases questionnaires relating to the 1995‐1996 period were sent to the relevant new authorities for retrospective completion. This may have resulted in a higher level of missing and/or incomplete data for that period.
Provides useful information, not only to academic institutions and libraries, but also to parents.
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