Libraries in schools help encourage critical thinking. Communidad de Madrid
Libraries gradually disappearing from schools and colleges throughout Spain

Libraries gradually disappearing from schools and colleges throughout Spain

Despite being compulsory by law these spaces are losing importance in educational centres, particularly in two Spanish regions

José A. González

Thursday, 18 May 2023, 21:52


Libraries are gradually disappearing from colleges and schools across Spain, according to new figures.

The problem is particularly prevalent in primary schools, latest data from the Ministry of Education shows. In the 2019-2020 academic year, just prior to the pandemic, almost seven out of ten educational centres had a school library open, compared to a previous study in the 2015-2016 school year when the percentage of open libraries was almost 86%.

The figure is also down by 5% at schools where both primary and secondary education is taught. Catalonia and the Balearic Islands had the least amount of open school libraries in Spain. According to data from the Ministry of Education, both regions recorded 56.8% and 54.8%.

Librarian at the Scientific Information Resources for Research Unit of the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), and Carlos III University professor Miguel Ángel Marzal García-Quismondo said today's model is far from meeting the needs of education for the 21st century.

"School libraries are not on political agendas and the legislative rationale and support is outdated," he said.

The figures go against objectives set by the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA): "Libraries represent an essential link in the chain between those who collect or produce evidence and those who must use it to make decisions". These spaces enable all members of the school community to become critical thinkers and effective users of information in all formats and media."

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