Press release: Children's Books Ireland welcomes the Budget 2022 allocation of €20 million to schools for the purchase of reading materials
Children's Books Ireland welcomes the announcement of a once-off, €20 million capital allocation to schools for the purchase of books, audio books and other media for the purposes of improving their existing literacy resource banks in Budget 2022.
The Department of Education notes that: ‘The allocation recognises the importance of books in the lives of children and the need to ensure that we provide access to the highest quality books in all our schools in order to allow our learners to develop their language and literacy skills.’
Children's Books Ireland CEO, Elaina Ryan said: ‘We are thrilled to see the Department of Education prioritising reading with this significant allocation of funding. This investment recognises the life-changing power of reading and will ensure that every school–aged child in Ireland can experience the joy of reading, reaping the many benefits of reading for pleasure. It will also allow schools to buy books that reflect the richness and diversity of Irish society, and that cater for the diverse needs and interests of their students.
‘With over a thousand applications already received by Children's Books Ireland for our book gifting projects this year, only 1% of which will receive a full library for their school, we are delighted to see a commitment from Minister Foley's department to the universal provision of reading materials.
‘A large body of research on the impact of reading for pleasure emphasises it as a prerequisite for the achievement of other positive outcomes of reading. Ensuring that children can choose from a wide range of reading materials will go some way towards building up a positive culture of reading in schools and fostering reading habits in children that will last a lifetime.’
The ‘Right To Be A Reader’ campaign mounted by Children's Books Ireland in recent weeks highlighted the value of access to books and reading materials in schools, along with the strong need for government funding to this end following the 2008 cut to the primary school library grant. The campaign was supported by Laureate na nÓg, Áine Ní Ghlinn, all five former Laureates na nÓg: Siobhán Parkinson, Niamh Sharkey, Eoin Colfer, P.J. Lynch and Sarah Crossan, and received strong support in the press and on social media.