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Great School Libraries Report - “Could do better”
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Great School Libraries Report - "Could do better"

CILIP Ireland welcomes the publication of the 'Great School Libraries” report and in particular the key insights and evidence in relation to school libraries in Northern Ireland.

Commenting on the publication of the report, Cath Skipper, School Librarian and member of the CILIP Ireland Committee said,

“Of the countries involved, it is notable that school library provision in Northern Ireland is underfunded and undervalued in comparison to that in England and Wales, despite having some of the most experienced school library staff in the United Kingdom.

Only 57% of schools in Northern Ireland have a designated school library on site, in stark contrast to the 90% of schools providing this resource in England and 67% in Wales. This inequality in access to school library provision is compounded by a disparity in funding, with only 27% of Northern Irish schools having a designated library budget. Whilst the majority of school libraries in England are able to add to their stock on a termly basis, six in ten school librarians in Northern Ireland are only able to update their materials on an annual basis and, in some cases, even less frequently.

Lack of designated library budgets also negatively impacts efforts to promote literacy and reading for pleasure through pupil engagement with visiting authors. While just over three in five schools (61%) in England and Wales have had a visit from a writer, poet or author in the past year, schools in Northern Ireland are significantly less likely to have provided this enrichment activity, with only 37% of schools here reporting a visit over the last year.”

CILIP Ireland will reflect on the insights provided by this report and use them to engage with local key decision makers to demonstrate the transformative impact of school libraries.

Download the report in full here.

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