School libraries in Ireland to receive €20million for ‘highest quality’ books

Twenty million euro has been announced for the provision of books, audio books and other media for school libraries.

The Minister for Education, Norma Foley, announced news of the funding on Sunday (April 17) and said the initiative will ensure schools and students have access to “the highest quality” books and materials to support literacy.

She said, “A love of reading is one the greatest gifts we can give a child. It is of utmost importance that we provide access to the highest quality books in all our schools. They enable our students to go on magical journeys, experience new ideas and open their minds to infinite possibilities.In doing so reading assists in the development of language and literacy skills.

“It is said that books are uniquely portable magic and I firmly believe that reading opens up a world of imagination and endless possibilities; taking the reader to places they have never been, provoking curiosity, wonder and discussion.

“As a teacher, I know well the value to our students of reading widely, and I have been determined that we invest in our school literacy resources.”

The School Library Book Grant – which schools will receive based on pupil numbers – will be paid to schools in the coming weeks and is additional to funding from the School Books Rental Scheme.

Public libraries will support the roll-out by hosting webinars to representatives of primary and post-primary schools, and by communicating library supports available to schools.

Chair of the LGMA Libraries Development Committee, Colette Byrne, said, “The grant funding from the Department of Education will provide access to more and better reading opportunities for children and young adults, across all school-going ages and reading abilities.”

She continued: “Public libraries have a long tradition of providing a wide range of resources, activities and expertise which strongly support primary and post primary schools in developing children’s literacy, numeracy, creativity and communication skills.

“In order to ensure that this grant funding delivers the best possible reading and personal development outcomes for the students, the public library service is now making additional, specifically tailored support measures and resources available to schools.”

CEO of Children’s Books Ireland, Elaina Ryan, said, “Children’s Books Ireland is ready to support schools as they build up their libraries with books that are contemporary, engaging and representative of their students. Working closely with public libraries, we hope that our downloadable purchasing lists, webinars and resource packs will ensure that all schools are well informed and get the best books for their students with this grant.”

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