Libraries have never been more important

Published on: 28 July 2015

BookTrust Chief Executive Diana Gerald speaks out about the popularity of libraries following a government report suggesting children make fewer visits.

Diana Gerald

Book Trust CEO Diana Gerald, last week said it was 'amazing' that 70% of children aged 15 years and younger were still visiting libraries despite there being so many modern attractions vying for their time.

Responding to a DCMS 'Taking Part' report that showed a drop in children's visits to libraries from four years' ago, Diana Gerald said that apart from certain spikes, visits by young people had remained consistently high.

She said: 'Over recent years children's use of libraries has been consistently high and even with all the other modern attractions libraries are still visited by 70% of under 15s - that's quite amazing. In these austere times, libraries have never been more important as a way for every child to access books and reading.

'Book Trust research shows that reading helps close the poverty gap and is actually more important for a child's educational success than their family's socio-economic status. Well-resourced libraries remain a gateway to equality of educational achievement and an affordable source of great pleasure. All children should have easy access to a library.'

Library statistics from the Reading Agency show that 60% of 5-10 year olds and 77% of 11-15 year olds visited the library last year with 91.6 million children's books borrowed.

BookTrust also offers school libraries and educational providers in England with Year 7 students the chance to claim a free School Library Pack. The pack consists of 40+ books and resources; there is also an alternative special school pack.

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