Lack of school libraries is a national scandal

Literacy underpins success in our modern society so to deprive a child of this critical skill runs the risk of banishing them to an economically depressed under-class, argues Streetspace Communications Manager Simon Dolby.

A weakness with literacy is a common strand for disaffected teenagers not in education or training, prisoners or the homeless. The percentage of this trio of groups handicapped by poor or non-existent literacy skills is typically in excess of 80 per cent.

This week the media have turned the spotlight on a shocking survey conducted by the Great School Libraries Campaign which has revealed that one in eight schools have no library at all. The survey also revealed that schools in more deprived communities are more likely to not have a library; and that pressure on space and a lack of resources means more than half of schools with libraries reported they were actually being used as classrooms or meeting spaces rather than its intended purpose.

Interestingly there is a requirement that all prisons must have a library, but nothing similarly linked to schools. This means successive governments will only provide this resource to those who have fallen through the trapdoor of society, but not to stop children failing in the first place.

This research details a scandalous inequality of access and opportunity that should be put right by the government.

Resourcing is very often at the root of the problem so to help schools with squeezed budgets, Streetspace can provide its ZONE glazed buildings to provide library or classroom space at a fraction of the cost of a traditional build.

Park High School, Stanmore, Middlesex is one of the latest to take up this offer and is now using its new 19m by 7.5m ZONE glazed space as a school library following construction over the summer holidays. Complete with heating and air conditioning, the new build is the perfect space to support the school’s mission to encourage reading for pleasure.

To find out more about ZONE glazed buildings visit  

To see more details of the Great School Libraries Campaign survey visit: