Information about Children and Books in Japan

Second Basic Plan Concerning the Promotion of Reading Activities by Children

【2008-KN005】

The "Law on the Promotion of Reading Activities for Children (Kodomo no Dokusho Katsudo ni Kansuru Horitsu)" was established in December 2001. In order to put the spirit of the law into action, in 2002, each prefecture and local government was requested to make a "Basic Plan Concerning the Promotion of Reading Activities by Children (Kodomo no Dokusho Katsudo Suishin Keikaku: See CA1638)." Five years having passed since 2002, the revised Plan was approved by the Cabinet on March 11th, 2008.

The second Plan says that the first Plan resulted in success in some respects: every prefecture has already made own Plan; the number of schools working in cooperation with public libraries has increased to 52.5% of schools from only 45.5% five years ago; the school promotion of reading activities has become popular; and most of the schools with 12 classes or more have employed their "teacher-librarian" (shisho kyoyu). On the other hand, the following problems were found: the rates of non-readers are high among junior-high and high-school students; some towns or villages are falling behind in making a Plan while others are well under way; school libraries have not yet been well equipped with enough staff or books; and children's reading comprehension is becoming lower.

Over the past five years, many new laws which would affect the promotion of reading activities for children have been passed; the "Promoting Letters and Printing Culture Act (Moji Katsuji Bunka Shinko Ho)," the reformed "Basic Law on Education (Kyoiku Kihon Ho)" and "School Education Law (Gakko Kyoiku Ho)" – and "Lifelong Learning Policy for a New Era (Atarashi Jidai wo Kirihiraku Shogai Gakushu no Shinko Hosaku ni Tsuite)," which triggered a new movement of reforming the "Library Law (Toshokan Ho)." The second Plan takes into account the changes in children's learning circumstances following the law-revisions.

The following is the gist of the second Plan closely related to libraries.

  • Put into practice the "Official Requirements for Setting Up and Running a Public Library (Koritsu Toshokan no Secchi Oyobi Unei Jo no Nozomashi Kijun)" (See CA1649)
  • Encourage more than 90% of public libraries to set up own website on the Internet and introduce a computer or OPAC for visitors into all public libraries (See E711)
  • Network each library
  • Increase the rate of towns or villages with a Plan from 24% to more than 50%
  • Set up more public libraries in small towns or villages
  • Equip public and school libraries with enough books and improve their services
  • Improve training for librarians
  • Encourage all schools to employ a teacher-librarian

The second Plan sets up a specific numerical target for each objective. It encourages national and local public bodies, parents, and schools to make efforts and unite in order to give all children access to books.

Ref:

(2008.5 update)