The Primary School Library Alliance

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Research shows that when children read for pleasure they get better grades at school, show more empathy towards others and report higher levels of wellbeing.

Many children don’t have access to the magic of books at home or at school.

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.

The National Literacy Trust and publisher Penguin Random House have teamed up to help raise awareness of the chronic lack of investment in primary school libraries. We want to bring partners together to help solve this urgent issue. Through our Primary School Library Alliance we want to help transform 1,000 primary school libraries by 2025, giving them the books, training and support they need.

Read our recent Future of Primary School Libraries report which sets out the current state of primary school library provision in the UK, including how schools have been affected by the pandemic.

Here’s how you can help

  • Join our alliance. To solve complex problems like the lack of investment in primary school libraries we need partners with different experiences, skills and perspectives. We’d love to hear from any business, authors, education or publishing partners keen to join us.
  • 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.
  • Put reading for pleasure at the heart of your school. We’re currently recruiting schools to take part in our free programmes in a number of locations across the country. Find out more and register your interest. You can also discover tips on how to embed reading for pleasure in your school here.
  • Make the case for investment to government. We’re keen to hear from policy makers who are interested in helping us talk about this issue in parliament. Please get in touch for a full briefing from our public affairs team.

How we’re taking action

World of Stories has worked with 225 primary schools across the country since 2018, offering free books and resources together with bespoke teacher training. Pioneered by Puffin, part of Penguin Random House, and the National Literacy Trust, we’re rolling out this award-winning programme to 500 more schools over the next three years with additional funding from Arts Council England.

Chase Rewarding Futures School Libraries Programme is a partnership between retail bank Chase and the National Literacy Trust, supported by Puffin. It will transform 150 primary school libraries, and improve access to books and reading materials in underserved communities across the UK.

Marcus Rashford Book Club is an initiative with Macmillan Children’s Books and KPMG to see books donated through primary schools, to reach as many children as possible from disadvantaged backgrounds. In addition, we are installing Marcus Rashford Book Club libraries in schools in Leeds, Manchester and London through our partnership with Burberry.

Our ambassadors

“Millions of children, particularly those from the poorest communities worst hit by the pandemic, are missing out on opportunities to discover the life-changing magic of reading - one that OECD research suggests is a key indicator in a child's future success. How can a child become a reader for pleasure if their parents or carers cannot afford books, and their primary school has no library, or that library is woefully insufficient?”

Cressida Cowell, children’s laureate and author

Our flagship partners

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Our supporting partners

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Illustrations by Alicia Fernandes.