Libraries

Authors need readers. The SoA campaigns to preserve libraries, promote a culture of reading and ensure authors are paid fairly for book lending.

Libraries are cradles of lifelong learning. We urge the Government to urgently increase and ring-fence funding for public libraries which are essential gateways to information, culture and imagination.

Public Libraries

Cuts to funding and support for public libraries threaten a resource that is vital not only to local communities and readers, but to authors as well. Many authors rely on library services for income through Public Lending Right and ALCS.

Libraries are funded by local authorities, which have suffered disproportionately from government cuts in recent years. We believe central Government should increase and ring-fence funding for councils to spend on library services. A comprehensive and efficient library service must allow free access to physical books in a safe, comfortable, convenient and accessible space, and must be managed and curated by professionally trained staff.

Libraries are very much for the people, and are the only unbiased, truly democratic place to access information in our communities. With over 280 million visits to libraries a year, it is clear that our public libraries are well visited and important.

Dawn Finch – children’s writer and libraries campaigner

What can you do for public libraries?

Lend your voice to the many national and local library campaigns throughout the country. Find out how you can get involved in supporting your local library network.

School Libraries

School libraries are being closed or scaled back throughout the UK. This means fewer pupils have access to books, and where they do have access it is often inadequate. Cuts to school libraries will especially affect children who have limited or no access to books at home, and will widen the gap between the best and the least ‘well-educated’ and ‘well-read’. Children who are keen, wide readers have a far greater chance of being successful, well-rounded individuals in later life.  

A school library also needs a trained librarian, in order to improve reading proficiency, grow children’s confidence and inspire a love of reading. But in too many schools librarians’ hours are being reduced or eliminated altogether.

What are we doing for school libraries?

We are calling on the Government to set out a new national strategy for school libraries which recognises the vital role of high quality school libraries in supporting pupils’ literacy, research skills and reading for pleasure. We want school staff, governors, Ofsted, students and parents to recognise the importance of a thriving school library.

We promote reading for pleasure as an essential and enjoyable experience which can have many positive effects, and we are emphasising the vital role of trained library staff in this experience. To this end we are working with organisations such as CILIP, the Reading Agency, the SLA and EmpathyLab to spread the word about the power of reading for pleasure. Our Reading for Pleasure Award enables visiting authors to reward schools doing inspiring work to encourage reading for pleasure.

In 2018, the SoA’s Children’s Writers & Illustrators Group launched the Reading for Pleasure Award to celebrate the commitment that many schools are making to enable children’s access to books.

What can you do for school libraries?

  • Support your local school’s library, if it has one.
  • If you do school visits, work with the librarian and see if your visit can be focused around the library. Encourage children to come into the library to meet you if possible – maybe in an informal ‘drop-in’/chat session separate from a more formal workshop or talk.
  • Praise librarians for the hard work they do. After a school visit, write or email to thank the librarian, and tell senior management how essential you think they are to the children’s enjoyment of reading. Consider presenting our Reading for Pleasure Award.
  • Become a school’s Patron of Reading. A Patron is an author who works with a particular school over a long period of time, developing a relationship with that school and helping the school to foster a reading culture. Find out more at www.patronofreading.co.uk.