Why we need libraries

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Bednarik, Ignat (1882-1963)Here’s something to keep in mind the next time someone asks you why we still need publicly funded libraries, particularly in economically-challenged rural areas:

“A major study by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) shows how England’s 16 to 24-year-olds are falling behind their Asian and European counterparts. England is 22nd for literacy and 21st for numeracy out of 24 countries. The OECD’s Andreas Schleicher warned of a shrinking pool of skilled workers.

Girl Studying by Susan MacDowell Eakins“Unlike other developed countries, the study also showed that young people in England are no better at these tests than older people, in the 55 to 65 age range. When this is weighted with other factors, such as the socio-economic background of people taking the test, it shows that England is the only country in the survey where results are going backwards — with the older cohort better than the younger.

“Neil Carberry, the CBI’s director for employment and skills, said the UK’s economic future depended on improving the skills of the workforce. ‘This survey simply emphasises that the UK cannot afford to stand still on skills.’

“Ian Brinkley, director at the Work Foundation think tank, said the study showed the UK faced a relative decline in the economy’s skills base. ‘We face a major generational challenge.’

— Sean Coughlan, BBC News. Read the full article here.

Art by Ignat Bednarik (1882-1963) and Susan MacDowell Eakins (1851-1938)

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