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Most primary schools lack a library, says report

3 November 2021

Some 40 per cent of primary schools have no dedicated library budget. Photo Amani A/shutterstock.com

A report from the National Literacy Trust, The Future of Primary School Libraries, reveals that one in eight primary schools in England do not have a library – despite the proven link between school library provision and literacy levels and test or examination results. 

The report quotes evidence from the School Library Association that 40 per cent of schools have no dedicated library budget, relying instead on voluntary donations from parents and calls for “imaginative investment” from government for this vital service. 

Many who gave evidence to the report called for the introduction of a statutory requirement, accompanied by the necessary funding, for primary schools to provide a library. 

Professionally qualified librarians are essential to developing services. While few primary schools could justify a full-time post on their own, school libraries services, provided by local authorities, can offer the necessary professional support and advice. But these central services have been reduced to a shell in many local authorities. 

In secondary schools, where provision was better, many schools have made their qualified librarians redundant and replaced them with a teacher or teaching assistant as “librarian”.