The School Library Association and CILIP’s School Libraries Group have launched a three-year school library campaign.
Supported by CILIP, the campaign will focus on the importance of school libraries and librarians and the benefits they bring to children, staff and schools. Aside from raising the profile of school libraries, the campaign will have three specific objectives:
*The recognition of School Libraries/Librarians in Ofsted Inspection Framework.
*The creation of a School Library Strategy for England.
*Specific investment into School Library development.
The campaign will look to Scotland and its success in creating a National Strategy for School Libraries. The Government-backed initiative will be implemented in Scotland this August as schools in the country return from the summer break.
The Great School Libraries campaign will build on lessons learned from Scotland helping to unite stakeholders in a common goal of improving school library provision across all four nations in the UK. The campaign will look to engage with school librarians, supporters and school library champions and other allies to help push the message that: “Every child deserves a Great School Library.”
The aim is to create strong evidence-based advocacy messages tailored to various stakeholders including politicians, the Department for Education, Ofsted, schools – including teachers, parents, leadership teams and governors. There will also be media and public focussed awareness campaigns, helping to build an understanding of the importance of school libraries in supporting the curriculum and achievements amongst pupils.
CILIP Chief Executive Nick Poole said: ““This is a truly important campaign and one that has the potential to transform lives. Great school librarians not only support students, but also teachers – helping to raise standards and results across the board. They inspire people, improve literacy through a love of reading, and help teach lifelong skills like information and digital literacy. Teachers can call on them to help find information and resources when they are planning lessons.
“Through this campaign we will provide evidence that clearly shows the value of school libraries – not just to pupils, but also for teachers, schools and wider society. That is why we are saying Every Child deserves a Great School Library.”
Alison Tarrant, Managing Director of the SLA, said: “This campaign is an opportunity to celebrate and discuss school libraries and librarians, and to promote understanding and engagement with the profession. We will be working tirelessly to achieve the aims set out.”
Caroline Roche, Chair of CILIP’s SLG, warned that school libraries were being undervalued and often faced cuts as head teachers felt increasing budget pressures, saying that the campaign is a “chance for school librarians to stand up and show the value of a good school library, professionally run by a school librarian.”
She added: “ We believe that the impact that a school library has in a school, not only on literacy and reading for pleasure, but also on mental and emotional health, providing a safe haven for vulnerable children, a place for study, a place where students can find books to enlarge their world view or to find they are not alone, is inestimable. Such value cannot be measured in terms of money or figures – a good school library, professionally run, is the gift a school can give to every one of their children, for very little cost.”
Sign up to keep informed about the campaign and find out how you can get involved at https://bit.ly/2kvAXp4.