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Her Majesty Queen Camilla opens 50th Coronation primary school library in London

07 May 2024

To mark the first anniversary of the 2023 Coronation, we were thrilled to join excited pupils and teachers to welcome our Patron, Her Majesty Queen Camilla, to open Moreland Primary School’s new library today in Islington, London.

Enabled through funding from Bloomberg, Moreland’s new library is the 50th in a special series of primary school libraries transformed to celebrate the 2023 Coronation and the 1,000th as part of our Libraries for Primaries campaign.

Celebrating the 2023 Coronation

The Coronation Libraries Project celebrates the important role The Queen has played in supporting literacy projects and encouraging children to embrace reading.

In the past year, the project has reinvigorated the libraries of 50 primary schools in UK communities with low levels of literacy, where the cost-of-living crisis is biting hardest and where children are least likely to have access to books at home or at school.

Transforming Moreland Primary School's library

Bloomberg volunteers helped teachers at Moreland Primary School to create a truly magical space to inspire children’s reading.

Nature-themed furnishings, including toadstool seats and a tree house reading nook, have transformed the space. The library is also now home to 300 new books that reflect the children’s backgrounds and interests, as well as the Chase Coronation Collection, which comprises the top 23 children’s books as voted for by UK primary school children in celebration of the 2023 Coronation.

Two teachers have been trained to manage the library and deliver inspiring reading activities for the whole school, supported by two enthusiastic reading ambassadors from every class.

Reaching a Libraries for Primaries milestone

Moreland Primary School’s library is also the 1,000th to be transformed through the Libraries for Primaries campaign.

Co-founded by the National Literacy Trust and Penguin Books in 2021, the campaign brings together charities, publishers and businesses to address the lack of investment in primary school libraries, particularly in the UK’s most disadvantaged communities where 1 in 4 primary schools don’t have a library. Our commitment to addressing the disparity in access to well-stocked libraries in UK primary schools continues to be a strategic priority for the National Literacy Trust.

To date, the campaign has provided more than 382,000 primary-aged children across the UK with vital access to books, which research shows can boost children’s confidence and wellbeing, and improve their academic performance and futures.

To mark this milestone, Her Majesty was joined by pupil ambassadors in the school library to enjoy a recital of One Thousand Libraries by Joseph Coelho, which the Waterstones Children’s Laureate penned exclusively for the occasion.

Her Majesty then unveiled a commemorative Coronation Library plaque.

Her Majesty Queen Camilla reveals plague in 1000 library celebration

A whole-school celebration of books and reading

On arrival at the school, Her Majesty was greeted by headteacher Catherine Lawrence, before joining a roundtable meeting of Libraries for Primaries partners and author ambassadors to discuss the future of the campaign and what is needed to achieve its aim of all UK primary schools having a dedicated library or library space by 2028.

The roundtable was chaired by Bloomberg News anchor, Tom Mackenzie, who facilitated the discussion between representatives from Bloomberg, Chase, The Foyle Foundation, Arts Council England, Penguin Books, Portal Trust, Julia & Hans Rausing Trust, Hachette UK, Sweet Cherry and Oxford University Press, alongside author ambassadors Cressida Cowell, Chris Smith and Jennifer Cross (pen name ‘Red’).

Her Majesty then joined storyteller Alim Kamara, 10 reading ambassadors from Moreland Primary School and 20 pupil librarians from local Libraries for Primaries schools to take part in a fun-filled interactive telling of a story about perseverance and resilience. A recording of the session will be shared with all 1,000 Libraries for Primaries schools across the UK to continue the Coronation anniversary celebrations.

Her Majesty proceeded to open the school library, after which the whole school gathered in the playground to say farewell. Her Majesty was treated to a performance from the school choir, as pupils waved flags they had decorated with drawings of their favourite book characters. Every child at the school also received a new book to take home and keep.

We were delighted to welcome our Patron, Her Majesty Queen Camilla, to Moreland Primary School today to open their magnificent new library, as we celebrated Her Majesty’s longstanding commitment to helping children develop a life-long love of reading and the vital importance of primary school libraries. With the support of our incredible partners and authors, we are proud to have reinvigorated 1,000 primary school libraries in communities where low literacy and poverty are having the greatest impact on children’s lives. But our work is far from done. In the coming months, we will ramp up our efforts to galvanise cross-sector support to help us ensure that every primary school in the UK has a dedicated library by 2028.

Jonathan Douglas CBE, Chief Executive, National Literacy Trust

Joseph Coelho, Waterstones Children’s Laureate, added:

"A library in a primary school is not only a wonderful resource and repository of books, it is an oasis, a special, magical place where children can discover more about themselves, their inner worlds and the world beyond their front door. This 1,000th library is an essential first step in a longed for future where every primary school can reap the benefits of their own glorious library."

Reflecting on the day, Catherine Lawrence, headteacher at Moreland Primary School, said:

“This new chapter for our library is a momentous occasion for our school and community. Reading is at the heart of our curriculum and the library will cement our aim to not only empower every child with the tools they need to succeed, but also foster a love of reading that lasts a lifetime.

“Access to books at home is limited for many of our children; this new library gives families the opportunity to share the joy of books together, regardless of their background or circumstance.”

Through the Coronation Libraries Project, Bloomberg has reinvigorated the libraries of 25 London primary schools in disadvantaged communities, where almost twice as many pupils are eligible for free school meals than the national average.

In total, Bloomberg has provided 8,075 high-quality books, trained 50 teachers and provided 7,748 pupils with new opportunities to access books and develop a transformative love of reading.

Caroline Rowley, Head of Corporate Philanthropy, Europe at Bloomberg said:

"At Bloomberg, we know that access to literature can make a huge difference to a child's educational outcomes, which is why we are proud to partner with the National Literacy Trust on their Coronation Libraries Project. We've been delighted to see the transformational change that reading spaces have since the start of our partnership and we're excited to see the longer-term impact on the 8,000 young people who will benefit from the programme in the first year alone."

Libraries for Primaries was co-founded by the National Literacy Trust and Penguin Books following a successful pilot programme which helped 50 primary schools in disadvantaged communities reinvigorate their school libraries and champion reading for pleasure.

Through the campaign, Penguin has generously donated over 400,000 books from its children’s publishing arm, Puffin, to ensure children have access to a wide range of high-quality texts that reflect their backgrounds, communities and interests.

Tom Weldon, CEO of Penguin Random House UK, said:

“Opening the 1,000th Libraries for Primaries school library is an incredible milestone and testament to the power of different organisations, across different sectors, coming together. When we launched our small pilot programme back in 2018 we never dreamed that we would be able to unlock change at this scale.

“Creating a future generation of readers is vital for us as a publisher, and for society too because we know that reading can unlock young people’s futures.”

Find out how schools, publishers and partners can get involved in Libraries for Primaries.
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