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 1,846 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
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.
Aaron grew up in rural Kenya with little access to books or education. Now a qualified nurse, Aaron is using books to further his studies and meet the needs of his local community.
Read why Monica is glad her school library is full of carefully selected books.