Investing in Libraries is Investing in Children’s Futures

We're investing in the Libraries for Primaries campaign to encourage all of London's primary schools to have a library.


On the 8th November 2023, The National Literacy Trust (NLT) held a parliamentary event at Portcullis House to celebrate the anniversary of their Libraries for Primaries campaign.

We attended the event alongside other funding partners, Members of Parliament, fellow charities, peers and supporters, partner organisations, and over 100 authors.

We listened to a talk by the author and former Children’s Laureate Dame Jacqueline Wilson, along with other inspiring speakers.

Libraries for Primaries is a coalition of organisations united by a common purpose: 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 don’t have a library. This is a figure that rises to a shocking 1 in 4 schools in the most disadvantaged communities.

Since 2021, 640 primary schools have had their library or reading spaces transformed and the campaign is on track to hit the initial target of 1,000 schools by spring 2024 – a year ahead of schedule.

Already, almost a quarter of a million more children are now on a path that will lead them to a life-long love of reading, and all the benefits it affords.

The National Literacy Trust

Unlocking the Power of Reading

Learn more

More needs to be done, which is why we’re supporting the campaign to urge the Government to provide much-needed investment and commitment. At the moment:

Having a library is not a statutory requirement for primary schools.

A quarter of disadvantaged primary schools in England don’t have a library.

1 in 11 children say they don’t have access to books of their own.

At the Portal Trust, we recognise that primary school libraries bring numerous benefits to pupils such as increasing literacy levels and helping to improve mental well-being.

The event saw the launch of the 'Unlocking The Power of Reading' report which makes the case for change, and shows how every primary school in the UK could have a library through a cross-sector partnership.

We estimate that it would only cost approximately £17.5 million to reach all 1900 UK primary schools without provision, and around £14 million to reach all primary schools in England.

The National Literacy Trust

We’re fully behind the NLT’s belief that 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: they 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 schoolwork, but it is also for pleasure and opening up new worlds.

If you'd like to learn more, check out their website here.