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Life Changing Libraries

Children's Laureate Cressida Cowell's flagship campaign showcases the impact of primary school libraries
Life Changing Libraries Report.PNG

The Great School Libraries campaign is a whole sector campaign to improve school library provision in the UK. We are pleased to be working with organisations across the sector to improve and enhance each other’s work and impact.


The Life-Changing Libraries initiative was launched in April 2021 by BookTrust to showcase the transformative impact a well-resourced primary school library has on a child’s opportunities in life, as well as the shocking inequality currently facing children across England. Over the course of a year, six very different primary schools across England were helped to develop a reading for pleasure culture, focused on the four pillars of a successful ‘gold standard’ school library – space, book provision, expertise, and whole-school and community involvement.

Cressida Cowell, then Children’s Laureate, launched the campaign with a call on the Prime Minister – supported by former Laureates, literacy organisations, and publishing industry leaders – to help reverse the spiralling inequality in education by putting primary school libraries at the heart of our long-term response to the pandemic with a ring fenced, yearly investment of £100m.


The report’s key findings include a transformation in attitudes towards reading, with an enthusiasm and passion for books ignited amongst the students and a considerable uptake in the time spent engaged in reading for pleasure both at school and at home.  


‘Life-changing Libraries’ was Cressida Cowell’s flagship campaign as Waterstones Children’s Laureate, and the culmination of this project marks the end of her three-year tenure in this prestigious role. For the past twenty-five years, Cowell has campaigned for the necessity of school libraries, and she will continue to fight until every child has access to a great one: “My tenure as Waterstones Children’s Laureate came to an end in June, but my quest goes on: every single child has the right to this life-changing opportunity.”


As such, we are delighted that the Great School Libraries campaign has taken on the important research and continues to work with BookTrust and Cressida Cowell.


The Great School Libraries campaign is also proud to have worked with the National Literacy Trust and Penguin Random House, as part of the Primary School Library Alliance, to conduct the largest ever research into school library provision. Limited results were announced by the Alliance in mid November, and further details will be released by Great School Libraries in early Spring.

BMG Full Report can be downloaded here

With thanks to the Foyle Foundation for funding the Great School Libraries survey

Pictures from insight evening
Photo credit Katariina Jarvinen
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