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A war on books


thanks to Alison Craig for the above photograph

I have had to include a second blog, just after I thought I was in front of myself too. Here I am posting up another one.

As many of you know at one point I was a Gaelic Development Officer. Part of my remit meant looking for and encouraging the development of resources for children and their families. Many parents of my age will remember sticking Gaelic labels onto English books for Gaelic Medium pupils. Thankfully the teacher was on hand to help with our limited Gaelic in case we placed the labels on the wrong pages. Coffee, craic, and lasting friendships were built around these books.

Learners were desperate to find and locate resources so they could improve their own Gaelic and help their children. Where it was challenging to find classes and hear the language, books could help. Children’s books especially were great because of their repetitive text. Learning Gaelic together through play and reading was a lovely thing to share with family.

Books of all kinds were so important. Dictionaries were needed as were non-fiction books and scripts. At first, it was extremely difficult to find enough written material. Translated versions were not always at a level parents could understand. Things thankfully have improved a lot since then.

Gaelic Bookbug Packs are given out to families with children under a year to primary ones. However, not everyone appears to get the packs. So where are they?

Thanks to the Gaelic Book Council and Storlann more resources have been developed for native and learners alike. Things are so different now or so you would think.

Gaelic Medium is not unlike English Medium, in that parents and schools still need books replaced and new ones provided.

“You can never have enough books. But you certainly tired. It was a really, really, really good try” Eliezer Yudkowsky, Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality.

I think we can safely say that about Argyll and Bute Council given they appeared to have hoarded two whole skips of Gaelic books rather than give them out.

Why were they holding onto them? Why weren’t they handed out to schools to replace old ones? Why weren’t they given to Gaelic medium parents or even Gaelic hubs?

To say nothing of all their local libraries. How many of them currently hold shelves of Gaelic books available for readers to take out? Or what about Comann Nam Parànt groups. I’m sure they could have found some willing to sell them on. And what about new Gaelic medium teachers and students I’m sure they would have loved to have a nice pile of new books to start their careers with.

We have just had World Book Day could they not have done something like donate them for book swaps or indeed sell them at rock bottom prices to parents. How about giving them to other councils that have Gaelic Medium schools? Or even parcelling them up in bundles and giving them out to families?

So many schools and families have little or no money to spend on resources nowadays it is a disgrace that these resources were not dealt with properly.

In the end, the real question is, why they were never given out in the first place when they were so badly needed.

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