Hong Kong schools

Love to read? Then treat library books well, and teach children to do the same

  • With 200,000 damaged children’s books having to be discarded last year, it’s clear parents must ensure that all books are handled with care
PUBLISHED : Saturday, 17 November, 2018, 2:01pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 18 November, 2018, 1:39pm

Parents often bring their children to the library during weekends, hoping that this will help them cultivate a reading habit. This is definitely a great activity to nurture a child’s curiosity and creativity, useful at school or the future workplace. However, few parents teach their children that they should treat books with care.

Last year, around 200,000 children’s books in public libraries had to be disposed of because of damage, an 80 per cent increase compared to the number in 2015, according to a news report. The government thus has to spend a lot to replace the damaged books, which is a waste of resources. The money should have been used to supply new titles, or in equipping the libraries with better facilities.

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Much to my shock, not more than 30 people were asked to compensate the library for the damaged children’s books last year. I have even seen parents turn a blind eye when their children mistreat books or return books damaged by their kids as if nothing had happened, so as to avoid the penalty charges.

As parents, they are supposed to set a good example for their children. They should teach them to cherish the books, so that other users can enjoy them as well. It seems that parents would only like their children to read more books and gain more knowledge, but tend to neglect the need for such moral lessons.

If children don’t know how to treat borrowed books with care, no matter how knowledgeable they become, they will never be called a civil citizen.

Anson Chan, North Point