Headlines: April 24th, 2007



A comprehensive report into the way libraries can make a difference to children’s learning will be launched later this week in Bristol . It has been drawn up by independent consultants, Morris, Hargreaves McIntyre, who were commissioned by the city’s Library Service to look into how both public and school libraries could help to build confidence and boost pupils’ achievements.

The study, under the title, ‘A Whole Book World’, looked at the impact on children from birth to Key Stage 2. Researchers used a children’s centre, two local primary schools and a homework club as case studies for the 53-page report. The authors say the findings suggest “where organisations engage proactively with Bristol libraries through the School Library Service and public libraries and make full uses of the resources offered, a significant contribution is made to educational attainment within the formal curricula and in terms of wider enjoyment and motivation.”

Key findings in the report show that Children’s Centres provide opportunities to engage with hard-to-reach communities. Project boxes provided by the School Library Service inspire children to learn and motivate personalised, self directed learning as well as encouraging creativity and contributing to pupils’ sense of achievement. The researchers also found that both pupils and teachers believed the use of books from the service helped the development of information processing. Class visits to public libraries also provided an alternative learning environment and homework clubs were promoting a good attitude to work and introducing children to libraries and the resources that were available.

The full report will be unveiled on Thursday at an event attended by children’s author Stuart Hill as well as a number of speakers who will address an audience of learning professionals, librarians and educationalists.

Kate Davenport, head of Bristol Libraries, said: “We welcome this report and its findings, which I’m sure applies to other library services throughout the UK.” She said the School Library Service complemented work in the classroom and encouraged critical thinking, guided children to learn in different ways and inspired young people to find out more. Norman Host of Children and Young People’s Services in Bristol said the report underlined the importance of schools and libraries working more closely together. “By doing so, we can further boost pupils’ confidence and help raise levels of attainment across the curriculum,” he said.