- Historical Development of the School Library Law in Japan
- No.13, p.13-30
The School Library Law stipulating the nature and function of public school libraries, training of teacher librarians, and governmental subsidies for the purchase of books and furnitures, was enacted in 1953. The law was actually presented by members of the Diet, not by the government, to make a rapid advancement of the new and free way of performing national education on 6--3--3 system basis, as an antidote against rigidly regulated, text-book-centered instruction system of prewar education. In legislating and executing the law, much pros and cons were heard and many troubles were to be met, since it was the first of its kind.
However, as the law was an independent legistlation, it largely appealed the general public and the importance of school libraries in new education was commonly understood. As a result, the number of trained teacher librarians now amounts to 70,000, and the library collections become sizable.
The history of the School Library Law can be divided into four periods, namely, preparatory period (1949--52), legislation period (1953), implementation period (1954--61), and movement for revision (1961--date). Unfortunately, there is not a general history covering the entire period, the author tried to describe the real state of things from the standpoint of a government official in charge during the most part of the period concerned, to which were interwoven some of the formal opinions and personal experiences of the teachers on the spot. The author hopes that this article will be of some value to further more detailed and scientific study of the history of school libraries in Japan and will contribute eventually to future development of the law itself.