Support from the Department of Education

On the launch of Phase Two of this campaign, Nick Poole (CEO of CILIP) wrote to the Secretary of State for Education to bring the campaign, and the potential of school libraries, to his attention. We were delighted with the response, of which we share some excerpts here.


In addition, both Alison Tarrant (Co-Chair of the GSL Campaign) and Nick Poole attended a meeting with Minister Robin Walker, hosted by the National Literacy Trust, to discuss the role school libraries, books and book knowledge can play in the educational landscape.


Key messages from the letter below were also visible in a written response from Minister Walker to Jim Shannon MP, and there is clear recognition of the role of school libraries in improving literacy: “head teachers recognise the important role school libraries play in improving literacy and encouraging pupils to read for pleasure, and ensure that suitable library facilities are provided”. You can read the full text of the response here: https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2022-03-29/149254


We look forward to building on these relationships, and highlighting the multitude of ways school libraries can support pupils and teachers, over the course of Phase Two.


Excerpts from letter 15th March 2022 from Rt Hon Nadhim Zahawi MP, Secretary of State for Education, to Nick Poole, Chief Executive, CILIP


  • Thank you for drawing my attention to the vital work the vital work that CILIP, the School Libraries Group and the School Library Association are doing are doing to improve children’s access to libraries all over the country.


  • Ensuring that every child has access to world-class teaching of literacy will form a vital part of this government’s mission to ‘level up’ education across the country.


  • Making sure that children become engaged with reading from the beginning is one of the most important ways to make a difference to their life chances, whatever their socio-economic background.


  • My department wants all children to have the opportunity to read widely both in and out of school, and individual schools will decide how best to provide and maintain access to books for their pupils, including whether to employ a qualified librarian. Many head teachers recognise the important role school libraries play in improving literacy and encouraging pupils to read for pleasure and ensure that suitable library facilities are provided.


  • I appreciate you drawing my attention to the Great School Libraries campaign. I am keen to hear more about it, and about how school libraries can support with literacy and levelling up.

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