Libraries for Primaries campaigns for government funding

Posted on Wednesday, November 8, 2023
Category: News

Libraries for Primaries campaigns for government funding

The Primary School Library Alliance is calling on the government to match-fund the private investment it has brought into helping primary schools create a school library. The campaign was launched by the National Literacy Trust and Penguin Random House in 2021 to support 1,000 schools in transforming their library or reading space by 2024. Since 2021, 640 primary schools have had their library or reading spaces transformed by the initiative.

Earlier this month over 100 authors, funders and MPs celebrated the anniversary of the Libraries for Primaries campaign, which aims to ensure that every primary school in the UK has a well-stocked school library. Currently, 1 in 7 state primary schools in the UK do not have a library, or 750,000 children are in schools that do not have a library.

In disadvantaged communities, the picture worsens with 1 in 4 schools without a library.  The national picture also shows unequal school library provision, with nearly 20% of schools in the North East of England without a library compared to 6% in the South East of England.

It would cost some £17.5m to put a library in all schools that currently don't have libraries and the National Literacy Trust is calling on government to provide investment and commitment to school libraries. Jonathan Douglas, CEO of the National Literacy Trust, said, "Through our Libraries for Primaries campaign we have consistently shown the power of having a well-stocked school library and giving teachers the tools they need to create a culture of reading for pleasure.

"Having a brilliant school library is key to sparking children’s love of reading and ultimately helping to impact their future life chances. Today, we are calling on the government to match-fund the considerable private investment to date and commit to ensuring that every primary school in our country has a library."

In its Unlocking the Power of Reading Report, author Jacqueline Wilson states, "Sadly, many hundreds of public libraries have closed down over the last ten years. This is why it's so important to have an attractive fully-stocked library in every primary school in the country. 

"Some schools do have a space termed 'the library' but the books are old, and don't necessarily reflect our diverse modern life. Children need to have the opportunity to read about communities, cultures and families like their own to enhance their sense of identity. They need new books as well as beloved literary classics.... As a veteran speaker in children's primary schools, I know that a new library can make an overwhelming difference."

Read the Advocacy Report

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