Without books, education suffers
School libraries help teachers teach and children learn. They can transform the quality of education and send literacy rates soaring.
But in the communities where we work, few schools have libraries. In far too many classrooms, the teacher’s only option is to read aloud from a tattered textbook or write on a chalkboard, while pupils try to copy down every word. Children’s education is limited from the start.
All over the world, we support existing school libraries and work with partners to set up new ones. We also provide books to higher and further education libraries.
Creating vibrant school libraries
There’s no such thing as a typical school library. Each one needs to respond to its students’ specific needs, which is why we always work with partners to provide carefully selected book collections.
Last year, we provided books to 1,373 school libraries. They ranged from picture books for the youngest readers right through to revision guides for secondary school pupils preparing for exams.
We also run projects which establish new reading spaces in schools of all shapes and sizes.
The Discovery Book Boxes we provide create a mini-library for any classroom – no matter how informal. Packed with 200 books specially chosen for the pupils who will read them and a guide to support teachers, these boxes can be found everywhere from under-resourced schools to makeshift classrooms in refugee camps and disaster zones.
Our Inspiring Readers programme provides primary schools with a larger, permanent cupboard library containing 1,250 brand new books, along with training for teachers in how to use books to enrich classroom learning and a grant to buy more locally sourced books. We also link Inspiring Readers schools with local Children’s Corners – increasing the support available for pupils and teachers.
And our Explorer Libraries programme transforms empty classrooms into libraries pupils love. We provide at least 2,000 books, plus a grant for refurbishment costs and to buy locally-published books. Our partners also train teachers to run the libraries and spark children’s imaginations.
School libraries contribute to:
Our impact since 2017
School libraries established
Local books purchased
Teachers and librarians trained
Why school libraries matter
Rich, vibrant school libraries give children the power to realise their ambitions. Here are just a few stories of why books in schools are so important.
Lighting up young minds
Daniel is a student in a small school in Kanyera Village in Malawi. With the new books and solar lights available, he is able to read at home at night with the support of his grandma.Read more
An opportunity to read
Rosemary has always loved books. It’s this love that has led her to her role in her school library alongside teaching, and it’s what she believes is the key to a bright future.Read more
A career shaped by books
As head of the library department at Amref International University in Kenya, Dr. Penninah Musangi shares how books have shaped her life and why they are so important to the medical students studying at the university.Read more