Masculinity, reading and the school library : smoothing the abrasive rub
During the 1990s, governments and the education profession noticed that boys were lagging behind girls academically. Reading, or the lack or it was pinpointed as a major cause and it was observed in an Auckland high school library that significantly more books were issued to girls than boys over a six month period in 2004. The purpose of this study was to achieve a deeper understanding of how a purposefully selected sample of school librarians has successfully encouraged boys to read. A qualitative approach was employed using two methods of data collection: a questionnaire to gather largely statistical data and in-depth interviews to gather data about participants' experiences, knowledge and opinions. The study found that school librarians use a variety of strategies to promote reading to boys. A school library needs to be well stocked with a wide range of current, appealing, reading materials as boys are discerning, hybrid readers. Knowing the students and the library collection was central to matching boys with books and the library needs to be more than a book repository. It is concluded that Ranganathan's 'Five laws of library science' are still applicable today in the school library and school librarians need to be a professional, visible and approachable presence in the school.