The Primary School Library Alliance

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The National Literacy Trust together with publisher Penguin Random House have launched a national alliance to help address the chronic lack of investment in primary school libraries in the UK. The alliance aims to transform 1,000 primary school libraries by 2025, to create a new generation of readers who are better equipped to fulfil their potential.

Large scale public funding is required, together with collaboration from charities, publishers and businesses, to give schools the support they need.

Why does this matter?

  • School libraries face a chronic lack of investment, with the most disadvantaged communities most affected: 1 in 8 primary schools in England do not have a library, and this jumps to 1 in 4 schools with a higher proportion of children on free school meals. There is no statutory requirement for schools to have a library.
  • Schools lack the budget to buy new books, and many teachers lack the knowledge, skills or time to manage their school library effectively: in a recent survey 40% of primary schools say they don’t have any budget for their library.
  • COVID-19 has exacerbated this impact: the gap in literacy levels between disadvantaged pupils and their better-off peers has widened during the course of the pandemic.
  • School libraries have a positive impact on pupils’ learning & wellbeing: for the 1 in 11 children growing up without any books at home, school is often the first opportunity for children to discover the magic of reading.

Read our report on the current state of primary school library provision

The report draws together evidence from across the sector and submissions from teachers to give an idea of the current situation in primary school libraries; the benefits they bring to pupils and the challenges that they are facing.

Discover our transformational programmes

We’re already providing vital support for primary schools across the country, giving teachers the tools they need to create the readers and library users of the future.

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The award-winning World of Stories programme offers new books, bespoke training and free resources to participating schools. 500 primary schools will take part in the Black Country, Newham, Barking and Dagenham, Blackpool, Essex, Swindon, Redcar and Cleveland from January 2022.

How can you play a part?

Education, library & publishing partners – we would love you to join us by adding your support to the alliance and its aims, so please email us.

Businesses – if you are interested in joining the Alliance and pledging to fund libraries in primary schools where they are needed most, please email us.

Schools – We are currently recruiting schools to take part in our free programmes in a number of locations across the country. Get more information and register your interest.

Policy makers - We want to continue to make the case in Parliament for the importance of primary school libraries. If you’d like to help us, then please get in touch for a full briefing.