New Zealand Activities: Reading

Figure 1.-- Here we see an event taken at a public event in the interior of the Canterbury Public Library in Christchurch, New Zealand, during the 1920s. There was apparently a speech or presentation of some kind to which the public was invited. The audience is mostly schoolboys, although we see a few girls as well. The boys are in their school clothes, which consist of short trousers, dark knee socks, high-top shoes, and in some cases shirts, ties, and jackets. Several of the boys are carrying books. It looks as though a group of women are seated together on the front row to the left. They are possibly the boys' mothers, but more likely connected to the schools in some way. Notice that they wear cloche hats, the popular style of women's headgear during the period. Perhaps the main librarian is addressing them, possibly explaining the opportunities offered by the library and its resources. The library was a municipal facility open to all citizens of the city, which is the second largest in New Zealand and located on the South Island. A good example of schoolboy dress in New Zealand during the 1920s. It seems to have been a school for boys only. Most secondary schools at the time were single gender schools.

Reading is a valuable activity which children can enjoy. Probably no other single indivator will affect a child's future life than not only the development of reading skills, but the love of reading. Children vary in reading skills, but an interest in reading can be kindled in most children if parents and teachers do their jobs. Until after World War II, school libraries were limited, but there were good public libaries in New Zealnd. We do not know much about the 19th century, but we do notice boys making use of public libraries in the early-20th century. A factor here was the limited libraries in the schools. Getting children to read was a somewhat easier effort in the first half of the century because there were so few other activities competing for a child's time. Of course this is a problem faced by children all over the world.


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Created: 6:12 PM 12/31/2010
Last updated: 6:12 PM 12/31/2010