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Public libraries team up with primary schools to increase reading literacy

Author programme at Municipal Library Babice, by Ivana Bičanová, CC BY 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)

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  • Public
  • National
In the 2006 PISA survey — which tests 15-year-old students from all over the world in reading, mathematics and science — Czech pupils ranked only 21 out of 56 participating countries in reading skills. Therefore, supporting reading literacy has become an important issue for many stakeholders, including libraries and schools. The project, which started in 2008, brings together libraries and schools to develop reading habits of primary school first-graders (age 6 to 7).

Project description

Ivana Hutařová, an active member of the Club of Children’s Libraries, a division of the Association of Library and Information Professionals of the Czech Republic (Svaz knihovníků a informačních pracovníků České republiky), came up with the idea of a project called “I am already a reader — Book for First Grader”.
As part of the project, the children’s section of public libraries organise events for school children, including library tours, reading sessions for both adults and children, meetings with book writers and illustrators, book discussions, and exhibitions. The number of events varies by library and number of school classes involved. For all children who participate in the events there is something extraordinary to look forward to — a book prepared exclusively for them. Every year a brand new (previously unpublished) book title for children with original illustrations is produced which is not made available for sale for at least three subsequent years. So far, approx. 500,000 pupils have received the book.
In the past, the project was financially supported by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports of the Czech Republic and schools reached out to local libraries to collaborate in the project. Since 2011, the financing and implementation of the project is being organised through the Association. The partnership principle has been reversed; libraries undertake a more proactive role and it is now their initiative to get in touch with schools and work on the project together.
The number of project participants is increasing from year to year; in 2023, nearly 600 libraries and over 1,000 schools were participating. Working together towards the common goal has strengthened partnerships between local libraries and schools.
This project is an important example of how libraries, through strengthened partnership with schools, can contribute to achieving the country’s educational goals.

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