A school library is a great way to help young minds discover the World of Books, but more work is needed to give all kids the access they deserve.
Portal Trust staff were delighted to attend the National Literacy Trust’s parliamentary event at Portcullis House on 15 November.
The National Literacy Trust (NLT) was celebrating the first anniversary of the Primary School Library Alliance. The alliance is a multi-partner approach, bringing together organisations as diverse as Penguin, Burberry and The Open University, to learn about the current provision of primary school libraries across the UK and to affect change.
The National Literacy Trust and the publisher Penguin Random House have teamed up to help raise awareness of the need for greater investment in primary school libraries, and are bringing together partners to help solve this urgent issue.
Through their Primary School Library Alliance, the NLT wants to help transform 1,000 primary school libraries by 2025, giving primary Schools the books, training and support they need.
The NLT’s The Future of Primary School Libraries report, reveals several troubling facts:
- Having a library is not a statutory requirement for primary schools;
- A quarter of disadvantaged primary schools in England don’t have a library;
- One in 11 children says they don’t have access to books of their own.
At the event we heard from several speakers, including children’s author Cressida Cowell MBE, who told us about the crucial role reading for pleasure and school libraries play in a child’s life chances.
Cressida told us: “Every child deserves the educational, economic, health and mental health benefits a school library and reading for pleasure brings to their lives, and the chronic problem of inequality - left unsolved for too many years - is now a crisis. We must take action now”.
At the Portal Trust, we recognise that primary school libraries bring numerous benefits to pupils, for example increasing their reading for pleasure and helping their mental well-being.
Sadly, with with school budgets are under enormous pressure, many schools are reliant upon donations or have no library at all.
Every child deserves the educational, economic, health and mental health benefits a school library and reading for pleasure brings to their lives, and the chronic problem of inequality - left unsolved for too many years - is now a crisis. We must take action now.Cressida Cowell MBE
author of How to Train your Dragon
Primary school libraries are the gateway to increased reading and literacy levels for young children and the Portal Trust is eager to learn more about the challenges ahead. We were pleased to hear at the NLT’s event how businesses, charities and schools are working together to meet this challenge.
We wish the National Literacy Trust’s Learning Alliance every success in their campaign.
Inspired by the event held by the NLT, we’re undertaking a survey investigating the provision of libraries and learning resources at primary schools within the 14 inner London Boroughs where we work.
The number of schools without any sort of library or learning resource provision in inner London is unknown. This makes it difficult to argue the case for funding and support and is one of the things our survey hopes to address.
We believes all London schools should be able to provide relevant, diverse and up-to-date learning resources suitable for their pupils’ needs. A school library can be so much more than just an educational space. School libraries can generate enthusiasm around stories and help build a lifelong love of reading.
Primary school libraries play a crucial role in helping children recognise that reading isn’t just for school work, but that reading for pleasure opens unimagined worlds, and that reading can improve literacy levels.
Investing in libraries is investing in children’s futures.
We’ve created an online survey and have written to over 600 primary schools to gather information concerning access to a primary school library. If you know of a primary school in inner London that hasn’t received a survey, they can contact Carl Hanser at firstname.lastname@example.org or they can complete The Portal Trust Library Survey online by clicking below.