School libraries play an important role in encouraging pupils to read for pleasure. We believe that it should be for schools to decide whether to provide and maintain a library service for their pupils.
Head teachers do recognise the role libraries can play in improving young people’s literacy, and ensure that suitable library facilities are provided. It is also up to schools to decide how they run their library. While many head teachers, especially those in secondary schools, choose to employ a qualified librarian, this is not a statutory requirement.
We do not collect data on school library provision. However, the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) indicated in 2011 that 92% of pupils in Year 5 in England were attending a school where there was a library. This was above the international average of 86%.