Overcrowding forces 178 NZ schools to go without a library

As the number of students in schools continue to grow, principals are being forced to make sacrifices. 

School principals say they're being forced to make sacrifices over library space as rolls swell and class sizes grow. Source: 1 NEWS

Figures released under the Official Information Act show more than a hundred schools in New Zealand don't even have a library. 

At Rowandale School, space is at a premium. 

Its library has been downsized as the Manurewa school grapples with the need to accommodate more students.

"In 2014, our roll in July was 460, and at the end of 2016, it was 650 students," Rowandale principal Karl Vasau said. 

The library's now so small, it can only hold a third of its books. 

There are 178 New Zealand schools that don't have a dedicated library, while 330 schools have less library space than they're entitled to. 

"We've got this situation because government is underfunding education despite all their denials," Green Party MP Catherine Delahunty said.

"They're not finding enough money for schools to have libraries."

The Ministry says while it determines the overall space a school occupies, decisions about how non-teaching space is used is the job of the Board of Trustees. 

"What's actually happening here over the last decade, schools have chosen to not build libraries or to build smaller libraries," Associate Education Minister Nikki Kaye said. 

Rowandale School hopes one day all its books will be on display for more than just a few to enjoy.