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The long term impact of books

25th April 2019 | Publications

In 2018 we used funding from players of People’s Postcode Lottery to carry out an in-depth impact assessment to better understand the long term impact that access to books have on people’s lives. This report presents the findings of the assessment.

Background to the impact assessment

Working in partnership with the Kenya National Library Service, we asked a range of people – from leisure readers in public libraries and prison inmates to people with disabilities and healthcare providers: do books change lives?

Through a series of interviews and focus groups we gained insights on the value that different groups place on books:  how they depend on them for education progression and skills development; how they enlighten and impart life-lessons that beneficiaries think valuable and how they provide different perspectives on life situations and support well-being.

Key findings from the impact assessment

51% of readers said reading books had improved their attitudes and self-esteem.  Inmates at Naivasha Maximum security prison said that books enabled them to remain hopeful post-release.

46% of respondents said that having access to books helped them to improve their performance. Medical students and practitioners in particular, attribute their performance to the quality of the books that Book Aid International donates.

The impact of accessing and reading Book Aid International donated books on people’s quality of life are not easy to identify or prove.  However, some interviewees shared stories of how their lives have been transformed as a result of having access to books and reading the right books at the right time. These stories especially centre around how books have enabled them to start new businesses and improve their income.

We would like to thank players of People’s Postcode Lottery for their support and making this impact assessment possible.


Read the full report

Click below to read the impact assessment report in full


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