Research

The Future of Primary School Libraries

Added 04 Nov 2021

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.

This 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.

Findings at a glance:

  • There is no government requirement for schools to have a library
  • A quarter of disadvantaged primary schools in England do not have a library
  • 40% of primary schools reported having no dedicated school library budget
  • 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
  • Due to small budgets, some teachers buy books from charity shops out of their own pocket
  • COVID-19 has affected the most disadvantaged pupils’ access to books
  • Many existing school libraries lack quality inclusive and representative books
  • Reading for pleasure is proven to positively impact young people’s mental wellbeing and academic attainment