As more and more public libraries in the UK shut their doors or cut their services, the role of the school library becomes even more vital – but one in seven primary schools do not have one. Helen Osgood explains

It seems curious that, in a world where literacy and digital literacy are so important, access to libraries is shrinking at an alarming rate.

In the past decade, the UK has lost almost a fifth of its public libraries (Walton, 2021), despite the significant part they can play in supporting improved outcomes, not only for literacy, but also for health and wellbeing, wider skills, and so much more. Libraries are also a vital public resource for the vulnerable and those on low incomes.

We know that children who read for pleasure make accelerated progress in maths and English compared to those who do not read, but books are expensive and without access to them this accelerated progress is the reserve of the wealthy.

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